Review: Floral Guitar Riffs, Americana Vocals with Lord Huron at Concord Music Hall

Walking into a Lord Huron concert, one looks most forward to hearing clear guitar riffs that are so fresh, they sound like birds chirping on the first true days of Spring in Chicago. That’s the high note the band sent its Concord Music Hall audience off with Thursday, during its performance of “We Went Wild,” from 2010 EP Into The Sun at the Pandora Presents: The Stack night.

Longtime fans best know Lord Huron for folk and ultra Americana songs like “Ends of the Earth,” a chant to the universe, imploring its subject – usually an object of love – to hop on and gallop away together.

Costume plays a significant role at this performance, featuring large fedoras, combined with leather and suit jackets. While physical presentation is there, at times it’s tough to soak in and separate each and every instrumental sound, as bass had a tendency to climb Thursday night, hitting audience members to the back of the hall. This band’s sound might benefit from narrower, shorter venues like Metro and Lincoln Hall.

 “Pandora Presents: The Stack featuring Lord Huron and Jess Williamson” is an RSVP-only presenting amazing music for its fifth year in Chicago. The music-streaming giant offers three free drinks to each patron who was fast enough to snag an RSVP to this free show. The presentation catered to not only super fans, pleasantly surprised that one of their favorite earworms would be coming to town, but even more so to their friends who joined for the ride.

One couple Thursday night said music is a key element in their romantic life, ever since high school, and they couldn’t contain their joy for scoring front row at the packed event.

One man there with his new girlfriend told me, “I listened to the whole [new] album from start to finish, but I never look at what the songs are anymore, so…I’ll recognize all of them.” And his girlfriend, Maureen, said that while she doesn’t connect with anyone other than her boyfriend in listening to Lord Huron, she made sure she got her spot on the guest list the minute The Stack promos were disseminated.

That’s after listening to “The Night We Met” recently for the first time.

There was a number of your run-of-the-mill couples who grew closer as their favorite songs’ first measures beat at this Concord show. And while this isn’t strictly a romantic band, with it having a sound so floral and energetic, Lord Huron enjoys dipping into love and loss, says frontman Ben Schneider.

He told the Recording Academy in 2015 that “Fool for Love” laments about those themes. However, Schneider’s vocal range in this song expresses the desire to enlighten, rather than to relate in sadness. That’s why the band succeeds in getting its audience off its feet the moment it knows a banger is about to play. According to “Business Wire,” “The Stack predicts and surfaces new music, and the music listeners already know and love.”

The Stack has showcased a number of artists who have surfaced over the years, gaining prevalence with streaming services like Pandora and festival lineups. Beach House, Girl in Red and Father John Misty are just a few The Stack has brought to its free annual show.

Thanks to encores, the audience has an opportunity finally to explore the sounds of a culture other than that of this sometimes imperialistic land.

All photos by Elif Geris

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