Pappy and Harriet’s was packed for the outdoor Lord Huron show on Friday, July 10. Attendants squeezed cars into every inch of possible parking to accommodate the sold-out crowd.
I am always surprised by the logistics necessary to accommodate a larger touring band. Roadies were running around getting everything right, including towering speaker stands hanging on both edges of the tiny stage. Jason, the Pappy’s sound dude, was fixing Lord Huron’s guitar rack with the help of the band’s guitar technician.
Prior to sunset, Widowspeak warmed up the crowd with a mellow Mazzy Star vibe that was perfect as the Pioneertown sunset moved from blue to green to dark. Brand-new single “Girls” was perfect; it will be out in September, according to Molly Hamilton, the lead singer.
As everyone waited for Lord Huron, some fans talked about how many times they’d seen the band, and how far they’d traveled. Most of the attendees were from Los Angeles, it seemed, but there was a gentleman present from Utah. I said hello to Joe from North Hollywood, who I first met at the Dum Dum Girls show last winter; he collects autographs on vinyl. One of the great things about Pappy’s is that it has an intimacy and closeness that you do not see at the large venues in L.A. There is no formal green room on premises, so bands often relax before and after the show at the bar, making it a plus for the “Joes” of the world.
As the lights were turned down, a voiceover with the intonation of an old-time radio announced: “There have been multiple reports of strange lights in Pioneertown,” as Lord Huron walked on the stage. Lead vocalist Ben Schneider greeted the crowd by saying, “How the hell are you doing tonight? … I have eaten here many times, and I always wanted to play here.” The band started things off with “Love Like Ghosts,” off the band’s latest record, Strange Trails. The song features a traditional guitar sound, heightened drumming, easygoing cords and Schneider’s extraordinary vocals.
The song set expectations that Lord Huron was going to be extraordinary throughout the 18-song set. Ben mentioned, “We are playing some old stuff, too,” as he began “Meet Me in the Woods.” The crowd responded with a cheer.
“This is the second show of our tour,” Schneider noted as he introduced “Hurricane,” also on the latest album. Lord Huron is creating what I call American music, seemingly from a bygone era, but with enduring themes of love, romance and honor. As Schneider sang the lyrics, “’Cause you hold your life when you hold that flame,” fans clapped to the song.
I stood near the side of the stage, and I heard a blonde wearing garb from the 1970s say: “It’s so crazy, how many guitars they have.”
The band closed with “Ends of the Earth” before being summoned back with cheers for a two-song encore.
When the show ended, the party started, with bassist Miguel Briseño performing a DJ set, which crammed the dance floor inside Pappy’s.
As I left, I bumped into Joe, the autograph collector. He said he needed Ben Schneider’s autograph, and then he’d have the entire band’s signatures. Mark Barry, the drummer, walked up and offered to go into the tour bus to get Ben’s signature; this caused Joe to smile in surprise.
I don’t think these types of things happen at the Hollywood Bowl very often.