There’s just over a week to go until The Lumineers take to the stage at the AO Arena, and the pandemic-enforced hiatus from the live music scene can’t have ended quickly enough for the band.
For Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, who started performing together way back in 2005, it’s the live circuit where The Lumineers really come to life.
According to Wes, the audience is ‘like another instrument’.
Ever since releasing their self-titled debut album in 2012 – and that ever-present, chart-topping single Ho Hey – the audiences have flocked to their shows, singing and chanting every word right back at the band.
Nowhere, Wes says, is quite like a Manchester audience.
“You’re all pretty rowdy!” he told The Manc during a chat this week.
“It’s some of the most rowdy, fun audiences you can find anywhere. I like audiences that aren’t worried about being overly polite – it’s like it’s uninhibited and that lends itself well to music.
“For us, the audience is like another instrument. If we ever put out a live album you’ll hear a lot of the audience, because they’re singing with us and they’re adding things, and energy.
“So many of my favourite records growing up had that presence, that electricity.”
Obviously, for much of the last two years, bands like The Lumineers have lost this stage time, as the pandemic forced gigs to be cancelled for months on end.
Their last tour, the III World Tour, was cut short because of Covid.
“I think we feel like we have unfinished business,” Wes said.
“We feel like we have a lot left to express that wasn’t.
“And then you combine that with all of the pent-up emotion from the last two years that is gonna be out there on full display on stage.
“I think you’re going to see some of the best live music you’re ever going to see because bands, including us, have been just dying to get back out there.
“There’s just been a lot of solitary confinement in everyone’s life and I think these concerts are, for those of us who don’t go to organised religion, this is our church.
“This is our way of feeling community and it’s a beautiful thing.”
That band-to-audience connection is something Wes and Jeremiah have tried to hang on to, even as their following has grown.
It’s a desire that will be tested on the 2 March when The Lumineers take to the stage at their AO Arena gig – the second time they’ve performed at the enormous venue.
Wes continued: “There’s a desire to connect, no matter the size of the room. It’s supposed to feel like you’re at a house show, even if it’s an arena.
“We’re supposed to feel like we’re sharing some secrets together.
“We’ve been so lucky to move up and play bigger venues, but it presents a whole new set of challenges because really what you’re going after is the thing you started with – you know that really beautiful connection you’d have with an audience if you were playing in someone’s living room.
“You’re trying to have that same experience in a big room, and I hope we’ve got better at that over the years.”
Wes said he remembers the arena dates were more than a little daunting at first.
“I remember we didn’t know what was going to happen but it went really well, and we were like ‘I can’t believe that worked’,” he laughed.
“That’s the essence of being in a band – you have all these hopes but it’s like, the whole thing is kind of a wild ride, including playing this arena.”
The Lumineers are touring off the back of their fourth studio album, Brightside, and that means plenty of new material to join the likes of Ho Hey, Ophelia, and Gloria.
As with most musicians, the pair are enjoying testing out their new songs with a crowd at long last.
Wes said: “A.M. Radio’s been really fun to play live, it has a really anthemic chorus and the audience has been singing it back to us.
“That, and there’s a song off the record called Birthday that we actually made to entertain ourselves, and even people who’ve never heard it will join in screaming ‘IT’S ALRIGHT, IT’S ALRIGHT’ – they get it right away, there’s something really immediate.
“I like it when people are putting their arms around each other, especially complete strangers, because that’s what we all need right now.
“We need that celebratory mood and I think music was meant to bring people together.
“That’s what I love about music – when you see total strangers high-fiving, singing together, there’s some unification.
“I just love that about live music, it short-circuits all of our defences and leaves us more open.”
The Lumineers have chart-topping albums and huge world tours under their belts, but the thing they’re most proud of is much more wholesome than accolades.
“Beyond anything, Jer and I will have been doing this for 10 years in April, and I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve managed to stay excited and having fun.
This Manchester club has been shortlisted as one of the best in the UK
In a coup for the city’s clubbing scene, a huge venue in Manchester has been shortlisted as one of the best of its kind in the UK by this year’s DJ Mag awards.
Depot Mayfield, the home of Manchester’s infamous party series The Warehouse Project, is the only club in the north of England to make the shortlist – sitting alongside London venues Fabric, KOKO and Printworks, and Glasgow nightclub SWG3.
First opened in 2019, the 10,000 capacity venue has been home to some huge events – including MIF and Skepta’s mind-blowing futurist rave DYSTOPIA987 and Manchester Pride’s inaugural music event Pride Live, as well as innumerable shows for WHP over the past few years.
With three separate stages – Depot, Concourse and Archive – it has been home to an eclectic run of Warehouse Project shows, attracting ravers and gig-goers of all musical persuasions.
Now it has been recognised as one of the best large venues in the UK as part of the annual DJ Mag awards, widely considered to be one of (if not the) biggest authorities on the UK dance music scene.
The award ceremony takes place this December 15 in London’s The Steel Yard, in what is the first IRL award show since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.
This year marks the 16th edition of the awards, an annual celebration of UK talent. Positioned as a counter-balance to the global Top 100 DJs poll, DJ Mag’s Best Of British awards are a chance to shine a spotlight on the homegrown talent that continues to place the UK scene at the forefront of electronic music.
The 2022 nominations are split across 22 categories, and the awards show in December will also see the return of three editorial choice categories, Outstanding Contribution, Innovation & Excellence and Game Changer.
Also shortlisted in this year’s awards is Manchester’s ‘Baddest of them all’ producer and DJ Interplanetary Criminal, whose BOTA remix with Eliza Rose went viral this year and hit number one in the UK singles charts this September.
Congo Natty Dance System Interplanetary Criminal Loraine James M1onthebeat
Breaka CeeBeaats Meg Ward Nia Archives Soul Mass Transit System
Bandokay MC Chickaboo Ivorian Doll Knucks Novelist
Bemz Chinx (OS) Iceboy Violet Jim Legxacy ShaSimone
AD 93 ec2a Phantasy Sound Trick XL Recordings
All Centre Over/Shadow Pretty Weird Sondela Recordings Time Is Now [Shall Not Fade]
DJ Q ‘Est. 2003’ [Local Action] Hagan ‘Textures’ [Python Syndicate] Hudson Mohawke ‘Cry Sugar’ [Warp] Kelly Lee Owens ‘LP.8’ [Smalltown Supersound] TSHA ‘Capricorn Sun’ [Ninja Tune]
PinkPantheress ‘to hell with it (Remixes)’ [Parlophone] V/A ”Club Entry’ Vol. 1′ [Borne Fruits] V/A ‘Hospital Mixtape: Lens’ [Hospital Records] V/A ‘Luke Una Presents É Soul Cultura’ [Mr Bongo] V/A ‘Touching Bass presents: Soon Come’ [Touching Bass]
Eliza Rose & Interplanetary Criminal ‘B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All)’ [Warner Records x One House] Hamdi ‘Skanka’ [DUPLOC] Joy O ‘pinky ring’ [XL Recordings] LF System ‘Afraid To Feel’ [Warner Music] Nia Archives ‘Baianá’ [HIJINXX / Island]
KH ‘Looking At Your Pager’ [Ministry of Sound/Three Six Zero] Michael Bibi ‘La Murga (Michael’s Midnight Mix)’ Nick León ‘Xtasis feat. DJ Babatr (Pearson Sound Remix)’ [TraTraTrax] Tessela ‘Hackney Parrot (Bailey’s Techno Tool)’ Tirzah ‘Tectonic (FAUZIA Remix)’ [Domino]
Best Rap Album/Mixtape
CB ‘A Drillers Perspective 2’ [mayowahd] FLOHIO ‘Out Of Heart’ [AWAL] Horrid1 x Sav’O ‘Violent Siblings’ [CGM Records] Jeshi ‘Universal Credit’ [Because Music] Loyle Carner ‘hugo’ [EMI]
Best Rap Track
Darkoo ‘Always feat. Black Sherif’ (Prod. by Albert kweku Koranteng) [Atlantic Records UK] Giggs x Tiny Boost ‘The Family’ (Prod. by RichMadeRecords) [Self-released] Kojey Radical feat. Lex Amor ‘War Outside’ (Prod. by Swindle & Kztheproducer) [Asylum Records UK] LD x C1 ‘Hillside Demons’ (Prod. by JS OTP & Hilzz) [24 Hour Ent] Nemzzz ‘2MS’ (Prod. by Wydsonni) [Motown Records UK / EMI]
Best Radio Show
Emma Jean Thackray, Worldwide FM Ellie Prohan, KISS FM Felix Joy Breakfast Show, SWU Pure Spice with DJ Manara, BBC Asian Network Soup To Nuts, NTS
Best Large Club
Depot Mayfield, Manchester fabric, London KOKO, London Printworks, London SWG3, Glasgow
Best Small Club
Colour Factory, London Night Tales, London Strange Brew, Bristol Sub Club, Glasgow Ulster Sports Club, Belfast
Best Club Event
Club Blanco Distant Planet PXSSY PALACE Teletech Small Talk
Houghton Festival Naked City Festival Otherlands Music & Arts Festival Outlook Festival UK Queen’s Yard Summer Party
Best Boutique Festival
Field Maneuvers Freerotation KALLIDA Festival No Bounds Festival Watching Trees Festival
Underground Hero Recognising the champions of grassroots music communities
Double O & Mantra Jeremy Sylvester Lo Shea Man Power Sarah McBriar
Feature image – WHP MCR
Hot Chip announce huge live Manchester show at The Warehouse Project
Hot Chip has just announced they will play a huge live show in Manchester in the new year, in what marks the band’s first appearance since the release of their newest album Freakout/Release.
The electronic band, most famous for mid-noughties hits ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Ready for the Floor’, will bring a specially curated line-up to the Warehouse Project’s home at Depot Mayfield for the very first time.
At the huge show, which will take place on 3 February 2023, Hot Chip will be joined by the likes of Todd Terje, Sofia Kourtesis, Yuné Pinku, Mona Yim (DJ Set) and Tarzsa.
The group’s most recent release Freakout/Release dropped this summer to resounding praise from critics, with music review authority Pitchfork comparing the album to “a homeopathic remedy”.
The eighth album from the band, a long-time favourite of electronic music heads, opens with what the site calls “a startling confession” from frontman Alexis Taylor before delving into a “litany of woes”.
Elsewhere, tunes such as the album’s title track Freakout/Release pay homage to the group’s love of The Beastie Boys (inspired, in part, by the group’s cover of ‘Sabotage’) – joining “doubt with deliverance over the cleansing pulse of a disco beat.”
Since first debuting in 2004, the London indie electronic band has gone on to release seven more LPs, received Grammy and Mercury Prize nominations and perform at the likes of Glastonbury.
Formed in 2000, the band have forged themselves a reputation as one of the most innovative bands to come out of the UK in modern times.
In their time, Hot Chip have released eight studio albums, with their latest being 2022’s Freakout/Release.
So far, only two dates have been announced by the band in 2023 with Hot Chip playing their first show of the year in Manchester. Hot Chip will then headline Kaleidoscope Festival at London’s Alexandra Palace on July 15, 2023.
Tickets for the WHP show start from £29.50 plus a booking fee. You can register now via https://linktr.ee/WHPMCR for the exclusive presale and the only guaranteed access to tickets.
The presale for tickets goes live on Wednesday 30 November at 10am, followed by a general sale on Thursday 1 December at 10am.