Lord Huron

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SF Gate: In Berkeley, Lord Huron makes dour lyrics go down easy

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Opening with “World Ender,” Lord Huron made it clear that the night wouldn’t include a lot of lighthearted ditties.

The black-clad, guitar-heavy quintet lost no time delving into a repertoire of creatively dour, character-driven ballads during its sold-out concert Sunday, Jan. 8, at UC Theatre in Berkeley — the fourth and final show of the band’s Bay Area stint, which kicked off at the Independent on Thursday, Jan. 5.

“They put me in the ground, but I’m back from the dead,” crooned frontman Ben Schneider to a reverb-fueled melodic blend of classic rockabilly and old-school surf rock, custom fit for a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.

With an intermittently flickering emerald-shaped neon light as the lone, mood-setting backdrop, the Los Angeles-based indie rock band wound its way through a generous sampling of spirited songs from its two albums to date that created a rich narrative of lonely desert landscapes, forlorn seekers and apocalyptic dreams.

If you ignore the end-of-days lyrics, though, many of Lord Huron’s songs strike a deceptively upbeat tone: perky, light melodies layered with lively guitar rhythms. In Schneider’s vocals is a distinct sweet earnestness that transitions naturally from deep crooning to smooth falsettos, underlying his dark, angsty lyrics.

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January 12, 2017

"“To the ends of the earth would you follow me?/There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see.”

With such an invitation, Lord Huron kicked off the first of five sold-out nights at the Teragram Ballroom in their hometown of Los Angeles, playing to the packed venue filled with fans who’d been waiting what felt like decades for the band’s return. As Ben Schneider’s brainchild, which began in LA way back in 2010, Lord Huron may have started ingrained in the budding movement of indie-folk that was burgeoning at the time–but after the release of Strange Trails in 2015, the group began to take on a Western-tinged rock sound that truly flourished in their live gigs. They’ve played on massive stages at music festivals across the country where their ever-growing sonics have been tried and tested, but back in their hometown and playing the humble confines of the Teragram Ballroom, borrowing its isolated intimacy, Lord Huron lit a fire in our feet and bellies that just couldn’t be put out.

“Maybe some of you don’t know this, but we’re from here,” Schneider told the crowd, who screamed in praise back. “When I first moved here I felt like a tourist. I didn’t have any plans to stay, but then I sat on a barstool…and now here we are.”

And here they were indeed, a full-fledged band that had gone from indie-folk sweethearts to an ever-raging blaze of folk-rock. Opening the night with the singed rumblings of “The World Ender,” interspersed by Schneider’s high-pitched yips and yawps, before diving into the rollicking folk-odyssey “Meet Me in the Woods,” Lord Huron promised not to give the crowd just a run-through of their typical setlist. Citing the fact that they had five nights at the Teragram, Schneider told the crowd that they had room to experiment a bit and play songs they didn’t usually play.

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