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Lord Huron approximates the west

The Fonda, West Hollywood, Cal., February 28, 2014

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Appropriately, a mariachi group - dressed in full, traditional Mexican music get-ups - played one short song before introducing Lord Huron. Just as Mexicans represented a vital demographic of the early American west, Lord Huron came off like latter day cowboys during much of their quietly moody folk-rock set.

Nobody played the cowboy better than leader, Ben Schneider. With his Hollywood good looks, Schneider could have been a singing cowboy - with apologies to Toby Keith -- back during the western movie heyday.

Lord Huron opened with "Ends of of the Earth " of the wonderful "Lonesome Dreams" album, which is - like a lot of Lord Huron's songs - filled with cinematically romantic longings. Over shimmering guitars, trickling percussion and high and lonesome harmonies, Schneider begs his gal to follow him - all the way to the end of the Earth.

Schneider, who played a little percussion as well as acoustic guitar from the stage, sounded a lot like a doomed cowboy when he kicked off "The Ghost On The Shore" by stating, "I'm just a man, but I know that I'm damned." Like a gunfighter who's met his match, the character in this song knows he can't control his fate, no matter how hard he tries.

Schneider expresses a more hopeful perspective during "She Lit a Fire," where this ever-romantic one speaks of going through the desert and crossing the sea on a quest to find the girl that's in his "every thought." Schneider sings it over a loping mountain trail groove as he longingly describes his all-consuming muse.

Lord Huron also has a relatively upbeat side, which they presented with "The Man Who Lives Forever" that was driven by slightly African-sounding percussion. Lyrically, Schneider sang of desiring to be the man that lives forever, just so he can be with his girl - forever. Typically, it's romantic in the extreme.

Lord Huron lined up like the four horseman (plus one) of the apocalypse when they took the stage. Normally, the drummer is set back behind the singer, who is then flanked by accompanying musicians. However, this act comes at you in a unified line. They may look a little imposing at first, but it results in one of the gentler L.A. bands to come along in a while. They won't shock you like The Doors or X, but will mostly approximate a mild, mild version of the west, instead.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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