Lord Huron – February 21st – Ogden Theatre

9-TYH_8719Photos by Ty Hyten

The Scene: The Ogden Theatre was sold-out Friday night for the return of Los Angeles’ Indie-Folk rockers Lord Huron. It was the band’s second trip to Colorado in five months after opening for Alt-J last September. A good mix of twentysomethings filled the floor, aisles and stairways and the room buzzed the way only a Friday night show can. The night unfolded with a lot more dancing and drinking than I expected, but I’ve never been one to shy away from either.

The Opener: Superhumanoids. Unfortunately original opener Night Beds had to drop off the tour, but Lord Huron filled the spot with a fellow Los Angeles band, Superhumanoids. Their bass-heavy New-Wavey dream Pop was fronted by beautiful and casually delivered female vocals and 80’s synths. As enjoyable as I found the set, it failed to generate a worthy response from the audience.

Lord Huron: Ben Schneider’s distant falsetto introduced “Ends of the Earth,” the opening song of the dreamy, image evoking set from Lord Huron. As the rhythm of the shaker and drums entered, the energy picked up and the crowd danced and kept that movement going for the majority of the night.

I’ve seen Lord Huron play three times over the last two years and my repeated complaint was that their stage sound fell a little flat compared to the full dreamscapes on their albums. I was pleasantly surprised Friday to find that they’ve finally nailed that down and did a great job of matching the beauty of the record in a live setting.

The band bounced around on stage as Afro-Pop guitar licks, maracas, and tropical percussion channeled Paul Simon’s Graceland. Three guitars, four voices, and Schneider’s wild banging on a drum attached to his mic stand helped create a gigantic presence. Schneider moved between keys, guitar, xylophone, and the bass player also hopped from bass to keys.

“Time To Run” was a crowd favorite and “The Ghost On The Shore” a personal favorite but neither matched the feel good vibe of “She Lit  A Fire.” The night ended with a high energy two-song encore of “Brother” that started slow and built to a frenzy of percussion and clapping followed by the “The Stranger” from 2010’s Mighty EP ending with the climatic outro refrain, “Now that I’ve seen your face…”  After seeing these guys play mediocre shows more than once, it was great to finally see them hone in a great performance. The night had moments of both ethereal wonder and musical celebration.  In the end it was much more than I had expected.

As fans poured out of the venue, I caught word from a friend of a “Lord Huron DJ Set” at Lost Lake so we caught a cab down to the Colfax dive where Denver’s Rossonian played a pretty stellar opening set followed by Lord Huron’s bass player spinning an eclectic mix of Hip-Hop, Electronic, and Latin beats. It turned into a big dance party, the chance to drink with the band, and the perfect ending to the night.

Energy: A
Musicianship: A
Sound: A
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B+

Overall: A