LIVE: Lord Huron at Brewery Ommegang

It’s a special treat when LA-based Lord Huron makes its way east to perform. Lord Huron, an indie favorite, has quietly amassed a loyal and large following since its inception in 2010. Many fans have known of them for years, however a whole new fan base developed as their music made its way to films and television viewers.

Their ethereal sound mixed with a Bakersfield influence sets them apart. The feeling it imposes is one of subconscious melodies.  It’s the type of music that owns real estate in the back of your mind.  It’s understandable how the music has been selected as pieces for film and television.  Certain songs tell of times long ago, yet are still relevant today, lending themselves to so many scenes both on the screen and in your mind.  Perhaps it’s how it’s mixed with synthesizers or the reverberation you feel as it’s played.  It echoes in your soul and imprints itself on your heart.  

Ben Schneider (founder – guitar, lead vocals), Mark Barry (drums, percussion), Miguel Briseno (bass, keyboard, theremin), and Tom Renaud (guitar), known as Lord Huron, are currently touring this summer for their latest album Long Lost. 

Set and recorded in their studio, the Whispering Pines (a sound studio right out of the ’70s), you feel as though you are listening to an old-time radio performance from the ’50s.  Fictitious characters created from images they manifested as possible past inhabitants. 

The album goes against the norm for what is expected in an album today; however, its uniqueness isn’t surprising at all.  In fact, it pleases the listener, making them feel as though they’re transformed back in time.

If it’s visuals you wish for, no worries. The characters are brought to life through the artwork Schneider has created. The blurred out faces on the artwork leave the viewer wondering. Is it a statement? Does he want the viewer to create the image themself? Or is it just art? The artwork itself (original and new) conveyed the nostalgic feeling of a vintage poster you would see from that era as well, just a little beat up because it’s from that era.

There seems to be no gray area with this album or his artwork.  You’ll either love it or leave it. Can’t fathom the latter myself. A favorite from this album is Your Other Life”.  This song melds the best of all their sound into one track. Another track, Love Me Like You Used To” gives off an old-time Bakersfield sound vibe. Tough choices. Again, you love it or you don’t.  This reviewer loves it.

It was no surprise that DSP Shows and Ommegang Brewery would have the foresight to snag them as one of their acts this summer. Ommegang is known as a venue that offers concertgoers a unique summer lineup. The venue was easily found, with plenty of free parking, many food vendors, and multiple choices of their freshly brewed libations.

As the crew prepared the stage and uncovered the amps and lights from the rain that was now over, it was pleasant to see such a cool stage set. Waves draped in lights and cacti dotted the stage amid the risers and microphones. As the band took the stage, the placement of the risers and props showed it was well thought out and a great stage setting.

As Schneider began to sing, his stage presence was larger than life. His energy on stage is dynamic and dominates your attention. As he sang and played, he danced and spun around, winding up the crowd as he did so. Just as impressive was that he never missed a beat to make it back to the microphone in time. Let’s talk about his vocals, the lighting, and the sound mixing. These are worth mentioning. His vocals were crystal clear and spot-on. Extremely strong and powerful. They were just as good, if not better than the recordings. The music is a complex mix of layered sounds and instruments. Kudos to the sound engineers and light engineers on this show. They did a splendid job choreographing a perfect blend of the entire show. No matter where you were in the audience, the sound was spot-on in all areas.

Schneider and the whole band are showmen and women, and the setlist was constructed to build up the crowd, showcasing their unique styles and sounds as well as their large catalog, The costuming was on-point as well, and the mix of music, costuming, stage sets, lighting, and sound were the perfect blend to showcase their unique talents.

Taking in the crowd, you begin to notice a multi-generational demographic. Young children were standing on the barrier hoping for a pick to be thrown their way or to be noticed by the band, teenagers with their friends and significant others, millennials who have been there since the band’s inception, and the older generation that somehow stumbled across them and love them as well.

It’s a gift to be able to touch that many different people in such a way that they come out on a weeknight (most getting off early from work to do so) to see them play live. What was most notable though in this diverse crowd, were the smiles on the faces of those in the crowd and the dancing that was taking place. Apologies for the shaky video for “Meet Me in the Woods” accompanying this piece, your reviewer was dancing.

This was such a happy crowd, different from other festivals and shows. This crowd was truly happy to the core, carefree and in the moment just feeling the music. Their purpose wasn’t to escape, it was to be present. It was a beautiful night, and hands-down one of this reviewer’s favorite shows ever.

On a drizzly, overcast summer August afternoon, the crowd filed in as opener Maia Friedman and her band opened the show draped in colorful cloaks. Some in chairs they brought, set back so the crowd could stand and dance, while others had tents pitched far back in the field to fully immerse themselves in the event. Maia and her band filed out and her sweet voice lifted the clouds and blew them away in time for Lord Huron to take the stage.

Overall it was the perfect night of music, at a beautiful venue tucked into the southern hills of Cooperstown. Lord Huron for making a bucket-list event everything I had hoped for; and Ommegang, nice touch with the firework show as I pulled out of the parking area. Perfect ending. Till we meet again.

Setlist:  Time’s Blur (Walkout), Not Dead Yet, Fool for Love, Hurricane (Johnnie’s Theme), Dead Man’s Hand, Mine Forever, Ancient Names, Pt. I, The Ghost on the Shore, Wait by the River, Secret of Life, When the Night Is Over. Love Me Like You Used To, The World Ender (with skull mask), Ancient Names, Pt. II (with skull mask)Time’s Blur (Interlude), I Lied, La Belle Fleur Sauvage, Meet Me in the Woods  Encore:  Setting Sun, Ends of the Earth, and The Night We Met

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