A Lumineers gig comes with heaps of “HEY!” and “HO!” and “OH!” and “WHOA-OH-OH!” and it doesn’t take long for everything to start feeling very “meh.”
The ascendant Denver troupe performed to a capacity crowd at DAR Constitution Hall on Wednesday night, strumming empty-calorie folk-rock anthems for an anthem-famished audience.
And its audience is growing. The Lumineers’ self-titled debut album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart this week, and the band will be up for best new artist at next weekend’s Grammy Awards. Like that of the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons before them, the Lumineers’ music feels like a slow-drip coffee break from the countless hours we spend navigating our digital lives. We lust after bands playing old-timey instruments the same way we lust after vintage clothing, craft beer and exposed-filament light bulbs.
Wesley Schultz gets that. A few songs into Wednesday’s gig, the Lumineers’ frontman asked fans to keep their smartphones in their pockets and get into the moment. It’s hard to condemn that request, but over 15 songs, his band’s exultant sense of all-togetherness seemed bland and hollow.