Lord Huron kicked off their North American tour on Thursday 9.12 in front of a packed house at Taft Theater. A large energetic crowd of fans that know every lyric was not surprising after seeing their sold out show at Bogarts around this time last year. In fact, Thursday marked their third performance in Cincinnati in less than two years. Yes, Cincinnati loves Lord Huron…and I think the feeling is mutual.
The band consists of core members Ben Schneider (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Mark Barry (drums, percusion, vocals), Miguel Briseño (bass, keys, percussion, theremin), Tom Renaud (guitar, vocals) and touring musicians Misty Boyce (keys, vocals), and Brandon Walters (guitar, vocals). The six piece gave us rich beyond our wildest dreams harmonies and played their brand of folk rock heavy on the rock.
They kicked off their two hour set with Love Like Ghosts and Meet Me In The Woods--both from their sophomore album, Strange Trails. Frontman, Ben Schneider, then took a moment to tell us how much he loved coming to Cincinnati and promised that he would be doing minimal talking and maximum music. This proved to be true as the band played their lengthy set with seamless transitions between songs and only carefully chosen pauses. As a fan of all three albums, I found the set to be a perfect mix of the three.
One of the first stand out songs for me was World Ender. The lights turned red and we were transported to what felt like an old western flick. After that they took us to an eerie deserted beach for Ghost on the Shore. I pondered on the drive in if they would play GOTS as they did not include it in their set last year at Bogarts. I wondered how it would translate to a live show. To my delight, they did play the song and it was equally as haunting and beautiful live. The many components that make up this song were as cohesive as they are on the record but at the same time it felt like every purposeful note and every instrument was also front and center and the audience could see all the pieces of the puzzle before them--The big picture and the individual pieces at the same time.
A few songs later the scene changed again and Schneider put his guitar down and sang and danced through Wait By The River like a modern-day, indie Gene Kelly (think Singing in the Rain) or maybe John Cusack in Say Anything. You know the scene.
Band members switched instruments frequently but the most memorable moment in that regard was when Briseño played the theremin on Way Out There. A theremin is a unique instrument in that it requires no physical touch whatsoever to be played. It typically consists of two metal antennae between which the therminist moves his or her hands within the field to control the pitch and volume. It quite literally looks and sounds like magic.
LH closed out their set with crowd favorite Fool for Love and Ancient Names, Pt. 2 which left no doubt in my mind that the encore would be Ends of the Earth and The Night We Met. They did exactly that but also included a moving performance of Some Things Last a Long Time by Daniel Johnston in honor of his life.
This was a truly enjoyable night of music from start to finish. We laughed, we cried, we danced...we loved Lord Huron.