Ten thousand folk-rock fans filled up the KeyBank Center Wednesday night wearing uniforms of flannels, flat-brimmed hats and boots to watch The Lumineers perform cuts from their latest album, “III.”
But the folk-rock group didn’t decide on a uniform until their encore, when lead singer Wesley Schultz and percussionist Jeremiah Fraites reentered the stage sporting Buffalo Sabres jerseys.
The two-hour set featured instrument swaps with almost every song, soul-swelling bass beats, violin solos and a lap around the stadium floor by Schultz, who serenaded fans and held their hands. Schultz told the audience the stories behind songs like “Gun Song,” a tribute to the singer’s late father, and “Leader of the Landslide,” a track dedicated to an addict. The crowd belted along to hits like “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia,” acting as backing vocals to Schultz’ rough indie-folk voice. The set was equipped with three pianos, two drum kits, flashing lights, a potential confetti shower at the ready and videos that played on the large circular screen hanging above the set.
Dark and ominous visuals, like the video for “Gloria” which depicts a woman as she slowly descends into alcoholism, and the lightness of the folk music were beautifully chilling throughout the show.
Mt. Joy, an indie-rock band and the second opener of the night, had a less narrative set but still managed to hype up the audience.
The band’s drum kit, keyboard and mic stands were laced with orbs that changed colors based on the mood and tempo of songs. They kept their set’s vibe mellow, playing their first live performance of “Strangers” and “Let Loose” as lead singer Matt Quinn and lead guitarist Sam Cooper stomped their feet and swung their guitars to the melodies.
But the set came with somber notes, too.
Before playing cut “Julia,” Quinn said “this song is about trying to sit around writing songs so you can go on fun tours but realizing if it works your girlfriend is gonna dump you.”
A highlight of the night was a combined song between The Lumineers, opener J.S. Ondara and Quinn. The two openers took to the stage once again to perform a soulful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” with the night’s main act. The layering of musical styles and harmonies resonated within audience members and gave them all the more reason to cheer.
The new Sabres fans ended the show by throwing their drumsticks into the crowd and proclaiming their newfound love for the Queen City.
Reilly Mullen is a news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReillyMMullen
Reilly Mullen is the editor-in-chief at The Spectrum. She is a senior majoring in political science with a journalism certificate. She enjoys Dunkin’ iced lattes and Scrabble. A former web, features, news and managing editor, she is a columnist at heart but has covered everything from UB Football to breaking news.