The Lumineers with James Bay
Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY August 18, 2023
By Mike Perciaccante
The roots of The Lumineers were formed when founding members Wesley Schultz (lead vocals and guitar) and Jeremiah Fraites (drums, percussion and piano) began writing and performing together in Ramsey, NJ in 2005. The alternative folk band is currently based in Denver, CO. and presently consists of Schultz and Fraites with Stelth Ulvang (piano, keyboards, accordion, mandolin, guitar, percussion and backing vocals), Byron Isaacs (bass, guitar and backing vocals), Brandon Miller (guitar, mandolin and percussion) and Lauren Jacobson (strings, piano and vocals).
Known for their hits: “Gloria,” “Ophelia", “Ho Hey,” “Sleep On The Floor” and “Cleopatra.” Over the course of its career, The Lumineers have released four studio albums, achieved gold and/or platinum certifications in the U.S. and other countries. The band has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and received several other accolades. Since its debut in 2012, The Lumineers has become one of the world’s top concert draws, selling out many venues.
James Bay is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist. He first came to prominence in 2015 when he released his platinum single “Hold Back the River,” prior to his debut studio album Chaos and the Calm (Republic Records, 2015). The album was an instant success reaching the top of the UK charts and peaking at number 15 in the U.S. In 2018, he released his second studio album, Electric Light (Republic Records/Virgini EMI). Bay has also released the EP, Oh Messy Mind (Republic Records, 2019) and his third album Leap (Republic Records/Mercury) was released in 2022.
During his career, Bay has received numerous nominations and awards. He has been nominated for and won the Brit Awards Critics' Choice and Best British Male Solo Artist awards. In 2016. Bay won the Echo Music Prize for Best International Newcomer, the Ivor Novello Award for Most Preformed Work for “Hold Back The River” and the Q Award for Best Solo Artist. He has also received three Grammy Award nominations.
On a very pleasant night at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, the Lumineers and James Bay delivered stunning sets of rockin’ music that had the fans at the storied outdoor venue dancing in the aisles.
Bay opened the evening with a strong nine song set mixing rock, roots and folk into a musical gumbo that had the audience begging for more. Opening with “Best Fake Smile,” Bay put his foot to the pedal and set it to the metal while delivering a fantastic performance that engaged the audience and included: “Just For Tonight,” “Wanderlust,” “Let It Go,” “Us,” “Goodbye Never Felt So Bad,” “If You Ever Want To Be In Love,” “Craving” and, of course, the hit “Hold Back The River.” The audience members, even those unfamiliar with Bay, were bopping along to the beat and by the end of the individual songs, singing along to the infectious lyrics.
Following Bay, there was a short intermission during which the merchandise stands were flooded by fans of both bands indulging in some retail therapy. A huge number of T-shirts, posters, sweatshirts, LPs and CDs were being sold very quickly. In short order, the stage lights blazed and The Lumineers appeared.
The nearly two-hour performance contained over 20 songs culled from the band’s four albums. The group’s performance began with a version of “Cleopatra” that immediately got the attention of the audience. Creating a powerful one, two punch, “Ho Hey,” the band’s debut single, immediately followed. As expected, the crowd immediately and joyfully joined in creating an amazing sing-along.
Highlights of the show included: superb instrumentation showcasing the piano, mandolin, upright bass, guitar and fiddle; Ulvsang’s animated performance; Bay appearing onstage to join the band on guitar and vocal on “Gale Song;” “Leader of The Landslide” (which featured a snippet of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”) and the hits “Angela;” “AM Radio;” and “Brightside.” “Ophelia” and “Gloria” (which were performed back-to-back) got another huge rise out of the crowd. The main set closer, “Big Parade,” was a fitting set-ender.
The encores of “Donna,” “Submarines,” “Remington,” Reprise” and “Stubborn Love” provided a wonderful opportunity for the band and the 15,000 strong audience work itself into even more of a frenzy and to really connect with the band.
The performance was stellar. The band was tight, playing to and off each other, sending electric and infectious vibes throughout the crowd. The audience, at the cozy venue by the ocean, were the lucky recipients of a special performance by both artists that left them clamoring for more.