Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ripple Field Trip - Lord Huron

Look sideways and avert your eyes away from the stage at your run of the mill smallish SRO concert venue, and what do you typically get a glimpse of?  Maybe a pile of shattered Budweiser bottles oozing in the corner; or an intriguingly spattered wall with hastily affixed posters advertising the next gig; or some ashtray-laden poker tables with rickety chairs offered for those souls not quite hardy enough to stand for a few hours.  Well, not at the recent First Friday show at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum you didn't, gloriously headlined by KCRW faves and local rising stars Lord Huron.  That's because the show took place before an enthusiastic crowd in a well-appointed display room richly imbued with dark woods and endowed with enough stuffed mammals behind glass to shake a drumstick at.

So if your eyes wandered away from the stage, either during Wildcat! Wildcat!'s thoroughly capable opening set or Lord Huron's spirited run-through of such standouts from their recent acclaimed Lonesome Dreams cd as "She Lit A Fire", "I will Be Back One day", and "The Man Who Lives Forever", you'd come face to face with a coyote poised to devour a sumptuous rabbit carcass or a herd of deer looking like they're staring into the oncoming glare of a well-endowed Hummer.  But what might seem at first like a bit of an odd milieu for the hipster set to roll out the red carpet for one of Southern California's own proved to be fabulously fresh and satisfying, as patrons segued seamlessly from wandering the museum's display halls and patronized a smattering of gourmet food trucks outside the colorfully lit exterior of the museum while the musical entertainment unfolded in the main hall.

Lord Huron is the brainchild of Michigan-born Ben Schneider, who impressively played all the instruments on the band’s first two EPs, 2010’s Into the Sun and Mighty.   Schneider recruited a few Michigan-born long-time friends to play on Lonesome Dreams, and the band’s folk-infused, multirhythmic sound melded beautifully with lush harmonies, both on the more uptempo tracks mentioned above and the beautifully meditative, harmonica-inflected “Ghost on the Shore”, perhaps the highlight of the entire evening.  By the time the veterans of 2011’s Lollapalooza and SWSX festival closed with a moving and eminently crowd-pleasing rendition of "Auld Lang Syne", it was clear whoever dreamed of pairing innovative, high quality music with the hallowed halls of wooly behemoths is truly on to something special.  Plus, anything that gets the people into a museum can't be all bad.

--Rhythm Slayer

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