Lord Huron. Photo by Melissa Bobbitt.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles did a great job in selecting its premiere lineup in the 2013 season of its First Friday concert series. Angelenos-by-way-of-Michigan Lord Huron have a prairie-bound sound that fit perfectly amid the stuffed buffalo and open-space dioramas. Local lads Wildcat! Wildcat! got to perform under the watchful eye of none other than some pumas and other California big kitties. They made their brethren proud.
In strutted the cool Wildcat! first, the gents rocking matching mustard-colored jackets that would make Fitz and the Tantrums drool. Away they went to their respective instruments, churning out a delectable mix of baby-making blue-eyed soul and feverish MGMT-reverent numbers. Singer/keyboardist Michael Wilson possessed in him a maniacal fire, as though he was threatening the back row: "Watch out! I'm coming for you, and you're gonna dance, whether you like it or not," his glance seemed to say.
Wildcat! Wildcat! guitarist/vocalist Jesse Taylor. Photo by Melissa Bobbitt.
Lord Huron presented a stately array of percussion that outmatched its orchestral recordings. In person, we were greeted with an effervescence that Lonesome Dreams (IAMSOUND) doesn't emit. In the museum, Ben Schneider and his cronies blasted the audience with sinewy guitar solos and a robust energy. The album whispers like a specter; the live band is a spectacle.
Schneider's words to the crowd were grateful and succinct, addressing the lot of us as "fellow mammals" as a nod to the hall they were gracing. Most appropriate to the situation was "She Lit a Fire," typically a lovestruck dirge that here evolved into a celebratory sing-along. A fire was indeed figuratively lit.
Most enthusiastic was percussionist Miguel Briseno. Armed with a few congas, maracas and whatever else he could reach, he exuded a glee akin to a second-grader with a bit part in the school play. The anticipation crept over his face during each song intro, his eager appendages lifting toward his gongs. Then at the right moment, CRASH! His job done, he beamed, knowing that the audience shared in his accomplishment. Gold star, good man.
- Melissa Bobbitt