Thursday 23 February 2017

Review: The Lumineers at the 3Arena - 'painfully dull and formulaic'

The Lumineers, 3Arena, Dublin

Eamonn Sweeney

The Lumineers
The Lumineers

American folk rock band the Lumineers have been dismissed as “mall indie”; peddling safe and sterile acoustic dirges that are usually found wafting drearily over the sound systems of shopping centres. Shock rocker Alice Cooper sniffed: “If I wanted to see a great clog dancing band, I’d see The Lumineers”. Cooper further twisted the knife by calling them “an offence to rock n’ roll.” One of the names of an earlier incarnation of the band was Free Beer, which probably would’ve appealed to Cooper more back in his drinking days. 

It’s unusual to see an act headline the 3Arena after only two studio albums, but Ho Hey isn’t so much a hit song as a global virus. It is dispensed with just four tracks into their set, as front man Jeremiah Fraites asks the crowd to restrict taking pictures on their mobiles to the performance of this one song. 

Fraites later politely pleads with the crowd to put their phones away and they dutifully oblige. Despite performing a few numbers from a small stage in the middle of the auditorium, the Lumineers sorely lack charisma. Their musicianship is undeniably competent, but the songs themselves are painfully dull and formulaic. A cover of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues is so perfunctory and middle of road it is in danger of being run over.

The Lumineers’ brand of 21st century Kelly Family style raggle taggle might sell truckloads of albums in the streaming era, but it brings absolutely nothing new to the party. 

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