by Julian Spivey
All weekend long artists streamed shows live from independent venues across this great nation that have been struggling to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has essentially shut down live music since mid-March.
The benefit known as Save Our Stages featured artists like Foo Fighters, Reba McEntire, Miley Cyrus, Macklemore, Kelsea Ballerini, Phoebe Bridgers, Brittany Howard, The Roots, Little Big Town, Dave Matthews, The Lumineers and many more performing from great and truly historical venues from around the country like the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and the Troubadour and Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. The sets have been streamed at both saveourstages.com and YouTube and links to donate to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in an effort to keep many of these venues from disappearing have been up throughout the sets.
One of my favorite bands since their 2012 debut has been the Americana/folk/indie group The Lumineers based out of Colorado. The Lumineers have released three albums since coming onto the scene and I feel like every one of them: The Lumineers (2012), Cleopatra (2016) and III (2019) have been excellent from start to finish.
I was thrilled to catch their brisk 11-song, 45-minute set from the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colo. streaming as part of the Save Our Stages benefit on Sunday, Oct. 18. It truly showed how talented of performers and songwriters band members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites are. The only negative aspect of the show is it just made me want to be there in person to see, as The Lumineers are a band I haven’t had the privilege of seeing live as they really haven’t come around my neck of the woods in Arkansas.
Schultz spoke multiple times about how important independent venues are to the music industry and to the artists themselves. Schultz remarked that he even had his wedding reception at the Boulder Theater, that’s how much it means to him.
The group spread the love around with tracks from each of their albums, with four songs from their self-titled debut, four from Cleopatra and two from their most recent album III and an exquisite cover of a Bruce Springsteen song.
The Lumineers have a great many terrific songs that are named after women and these songs like the ear-worm “Ophelia,” “Donna,” “Cleopatra” and “Angela” were among my favorites of their set.
But, I believe my two favorite performances were the cover of Springsteen’s “My City of Ruins,” from his 2002 album The Rising that started as a tribute to his adopted hometown of Asbury Park, N.J. and kind of took on a second life and meaning following 9/11, and the final performance of The Lumineers’ set, “Stubborn Love,” which is one of my favorites from their debut.
“My City of Ruins” was a particularly touching choice for the group, who’s two original members Schultz and Fraites are originally from New Jersey like Springsteen, with it taking on a new life (once again) as a hope for these independent venues to remain alive and the pandemic to end soon so we can all get back to live music.
One surprising omission from the group’s set was their biggest hit, “Ho Hey,” which was a top five hit for them in 2012. Maybe they’ve just grown tired of playing it so much throughout the years?
If you would like to join The Lumineers in helping to Save Our Stages you can do so at saveourstages.com.