This Lord Huron article was written by Tim Thackray, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
Lord Huron look like they’re dressed for a night in deepest darkest Siberia rather than a mild autumnal evening in London. They’re a long way from their sunny home on the coast of California so you can forgive them for packing multiple layers. The LA-based four piece certainly show no sign of deep freeze on stage though, running through tracks from their two albums to date with a contagious energy.
The band have a wistful Americana feel; their songs are smothered in sepia tones and with a nod to the western movies of the 1970s. There’s more than one occasion during the night when you expect to see a convoy of horses ride up from behind the stage with Clint Eastwood scowling at the audience.
They open with a string of songs from their latest record, ‘Strange Trails’, a dark and brooding album that delves into a forest of death, myths and creatures that hide in the undergrowth. One criticism of this set of songs is that, because of the strong tonal theme of the album, they can become a little samey after a while. They avoid this trouble live however with an injection of their more expansive earlier material from debut album ‘Lonesome Dreams’. Tracks such as ‘She Lit A Fire’ and ‘Ends of the Earth’ provide a nice parting in the galloping shadows of their recent material.
The result is a perfectly balanced set that draws you into its rich textures, from the atmospheric and spooky ‘Love Like Ghosts’ to the swaggering beats of ‘The World Ender’. The latter would have perfectly suited the end credits of twisted horror film From Dusk Till Dawn with lyrics such as “I’m the World Ender, baby, and I’m coming for them, they put me in the ground but I’m back from the dead”.
For a band who sing about the darker side of the life, they certainly don’t provide a sombre performance with a light show that would make U2 proud and the members jumping around the stage wherever possible. Frontman Ben Schneider has a compelling presence for a man dressed like a paleontologist. His vocals are superb throughout and he undoubtedly is the sticking glue between the group’s mix of folk, country and indie. We get a glimpse of the future too with a widescreen new song that builds to a stunning ending.
Lord Huron might not like the British weather, but if they keep playing like this, they’re going to be visiting these shores a lot more in the future.