The Lumineers Bring the Funk to MSG

by The Cowl Editor on February 9, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

Photo courtesy of


By Brigid Walshe `19

A&E Staff


The Lumineers just finished a two-night gig at Madison Square Garden in New York City and they did not disappoint. The indie folk rock band sold out the Garden both on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3, a feat in itself, and rocked the arena both nights.

For many artists, performing at Madison Square Garden means you have made it big—selling out the Garden though, is a whole other caliber of achievement. For members of the band, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, this was also a homecoming—both members originally come from New Jersey—and they told the crowd how incredible it was to be there throughout the show.

The band played a good mix of songs from both an older album, and their newest one, Cleopatra, which was released in April of 2016. In an age where digital music is really taking off, The Lumineers have stuck to their traditional roots in folk rock music. That being said, it was nice to see a band consisting of an acoustic guitar, piano, and cello on stage, that’s how simple the set-up was.

The band was on stage for about two hours, and performed nonstop for most of it, except for stopping in between songs to tell fans about the stories behind their hits. For example, one of their hits from their debut album, The Lumineers, “Charlie Boy” was based on Schultz’s uncle who volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War. Despite the crowd size, The Lumineers were able to make Madison Square Garden into an intimate setting, where you feel as if you weren’t in an arena, but a much smaller venue.

Schultz and Fraites formed the  Lumineers after Fraites’ brother died from a drug overdose at the age of 19. Both men turned to music for solace, and so, way back in 2005, The Lumineers was formed. They got the idea to name their band “The Lumineers” after they were announced as the Lumineers, which was actually the name of another band scheduled to perform at the same club the week after them, and they just stuck with it.

After limited success in New York and on the East Coast, they went out west to Denver, Colorado. There, Schultz and Fraites met Neyla Pekarek, a classically trained cellist, who responded to their Craigslist request for a cellist. The three of them became The Lumineers and they haven’t looked back.  The Lumineers gained recognition after their single “Ho Hey” from their first album The Lumineers. 

The band announced their Cleopatra World Tour in January 2016 and has toured throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe this past year. The Cleopatra tour will end in the next couple of months, but the band will also be the opening act of the Irish band U2 this summer as they kick off their stadium tour, so if you want to see them, there is still a chance.