Saturday night at the House of Blues, Lord Huron brought its narratives to life.
(New My Spilt Milk contributor Jessie Rubini saw Lord Huron Saturday night at the House of Blues. Here's her report.)
Movie or book? Original or remake? Album or performance? In the case of music, Lord Huron proved you don’t have to pick. Saturday, June 18th, Americana indie band Lord Huron played House of Blues. Their latest album, Strange Trails, delves into a fictional story of The World Enders gang, powerful women and rowdy saloon fights. The narrative is so rich, in fact, that lead singer Ben Schneider once said that Strange Trails was conceived as a movie. I was concerned that the fantastic, whimsical story of Strange Trails would be lost live, but the stage enhanced the songs.
Forest sounds of rustling leaves and croaking frogs filled the venue as Lord Huron, dressed in sharp suits, graced the stage. Shadows ominously shown on the smoky backdrop of iron-wood trees, creating the illusion of, well, a strange trail. Lights abruptly lit as the band rocked into their first song, “The World Ender.” ‘Strange Trails’ and a skull shone in neon lights hanging above stage. Bass player Miguel Briseo donned a leather jacket stitched with The World Enders’ logo, his hair styled like a greaser straight out of The Outsiders. All the musicians had a persona; the bass player looked like a young Elvis, while the lead singer’s ensemble and floppy hair was very similar to the hero of the Strange Trails music videos. I was watching characters from a book playing music instead of performers, as if the fictional personas of the album put their differences aside to come together and jam.
Lord Huron slowed the pace during the middle of their set, playing love song “Hurricane” (before which Schneider urged people to make out.) They also played “End of the Earth,” a song off of their previous album, Lonesome Dreams. I was worried that breaking up Strange Trails would cause a jarring break in the narrative, but all of the songs worked together. Though the two albums have different plots, they are set in the same world, blending seamlessly. The ambiance of the show never faltered.
By the end of the show, the crowd belted out the words alongside the band as they played “Fool for Love,” a poppy ballad. Lord Huron’s energy never wavered during the lengthy set. Their chemistry shined, with bandmates playing off each other in choreography (which looked more like bulls locking horns in a fight, but hey, it’s a concert not a ballet.) Band members swung their guitars over their heads and jumped across stage as they closed strong with “The Stranger.” For a moment, I really thought they were going to smash their guitars to bits. They seemed wild, sexy even! But, after the set ended with flashing lights, they snapped out of their characters, back to regular guys having fun on stage. Though the personas of Lord Huron are dangerous, the spirit of the band is about telling a great story.