Last Night: The Lumineers at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Not even a year has passed since The Lumineers last brought their brand of folk-based pop to the streets of Houston, so a one-off headlining gig at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion found the trio here again sooner than usual. This time, though, they were toting a whole lot more experience, with a pair of Grammy nods under their collective belts, sold-out headlining gigs throughout the country, and reaching platinum status on their eponymous debut record.
While I can't really say there was much diversity in the swelling crowd Wednesday night in the Woodlands, one thing I can say is that they were all definitely there to hear that one song, from that TV show. You know, the one where they say ho and hey a lot.
Driving to the Woodlands to catch a show is usually reserved for bands that have already made it in the music industry: Tom Petty, the Beach Boys, Arcade Fire, Radiohead. This is definitely my first time seeing a band at the Pavilion that was playing to a three-quarter-filled house at Fitzgerald's a year ago, or coffeehouses a year before that. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Save for a handful of new songs, the band -- front man Wesley Shultz, longtime collaborator Jeremiah Fraites, cellist/vocalist Neyla Pekarek and two other supporting musicians -- played every song from The Lumineers and a pair of covers in Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)." The show started with the rollicking "Submarines," which was almost inaudible at first as it was drowned out by the screams of the lucky couple dozen or so young ladies who had claimed the front row of the pit.
After a brief run-through of a new tune, and what seemed like only a snippet of "Flowers In Your Hair," the moment everyone pulled out their pocketbooks to be a part of finally arrived. A pretty standard version of "Ho Hey" made the crowd excited throughout, even though it seemed somewhat like the band was going through the motions. I've always wondered when the exact moment a band gets sick of playing their hit song. Like Metallica, for example. When was the last time they enjoyed performing "Enter Sandman?" I bet Lars never has.
A bit of a lull set over the crowd afterward, with the level of chatter increasing exponentially. During the Dylan cover, when the band seemed to be having the most fun they had all set, smart conversations abounded, such as "I really don't loooove this song, but I guess it's OK. I wish they'd play 'Ho Hey' again" or "Where are we going to go to take shots after this, bro?"
As you can imagine, I scooted down the row away from said scholars with the sad thought in my head that 92 percent of the audience would've never known they were playing a Dylan tune if they hadn't just said it. I also believe about 50 percent of those people don't even know who Bob Dylan is. That's the world we live in.