Not content with having brought out Bastille and John Newman within the same year, Seed Experiences treated Capetonians to folk-rock band The Lumineers from Denver, Colorado on the same day that they announced that English musician Ben Howard will be gracing our shores early next year. Seed Experiences seem to be filling the gap in the market that Big Concerts just misses: slightly alternative bands that couldn’t – and wouldn’t want to – fill a stadium, but can certainly pack out Kirstenbosch.
Durbanite Nhlanhla Majozi (or just Majozi) was backed by a full band for his performance as the opening act. Whether performing a mildly Christian song or a cover of Sia’s ‘Titanium’, Majozi’s melodies are reminiscent of Coldplay circa 2011, and indeed he counts several of their contemporaries including The Killers and Arctic Monkeys as influences.
The main act took to the stage right on time, opening with ‘Classy Girls’. During ‘Ain’t Nobody’s Problem’ lead singer Wesley Schultz took up a call-and-response with the crowd and soon encouraged everyone to stand up and dance, abandoning their picnics for the rest of the night.
Hit single ‘Ho Hey’ came early in the set list, much to the delight of the assembled audience, and even more so of the band who seemed very impressed that a crowd of people from the other side of the world could sing their song back to them, word perfect.
New song ‘Do It’, which will feature on The Lumineers’ next album, is a duet between Schultz and cellist Neyla Pekarek. Pekarek has a wonderful, soulful voice and should definitely take the lead in more songs.
At one point, Wesley Schultz grinned and launched himself off the stage and through the crowd to play ‘Darlene’ and ‘Elouise’ from a platform in the middle of the lawn. The mark of a well-behaved audience is the fact that no one tried to ambush him on the way.
But there were a few exceptions. After one particularly inebriated young lady crashed headlong into my spot, I spent the rest of the night picking tiny pieces of shattered glass from my trusty Hello Kitty picnic blanket. Please Kirstenbosch – can you ban glass? And while you are listening, how about some park-and-ride facilities? That traffic was painful.
With an hour’s set down, the band faked their goodbyes, before coming back for a 30 minute encore, an impressive stage time for a band with only one album under its belt.
The Lumineers make wonderful, simple music that can just as easily be enjoyed on your own through your earphones at work, or live in a crowd of 5000 at Kirstenbosch Gardens. For a band creating music in a genre overpowered by Mumford & Sons’ banjos, I’m inclined to believe The Lumineers do it better.
The Lumineers performed at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the 4th of December. They play a second show on the 5th.