by Shelby Lynn De Mello
Sometimes, a number of events occur in rapid succession that take that glimmer of hope that I have in humans and the universe to be good and decent and loving at the core, and crush it to ash. I won’t rehash the specifics as, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard a million different versions of the Boston Bombing, investigation, and subsequent manhunt, except to say that I was and remain deeply sympathetic to Bostonians, especially the family and friends of the victims.
Nothing could be better timed than my visit to The Greek Theater at UC Berkeley to see Sawmill Joe, Dr. Dog and The Lumineers on Friday night. Planned for the same weekend as their second appearance at Coachella, it seemed as if the trio comprised of Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek (plus their two-man multi-instrumental support team, barefoot wonder Stelth Ulvang, and Ben Wahamaki) had never left the famed music festival. Of course, Sawmill Joe and Dr. Dog gave epic performances, inciting jumping, screaming, singing and dancing from start to finish. Perhaps one of the highlights of the opening act set was when Sawmill Joe played “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem”–a personal favorite of mine — invited the band out to join them and consequently had the entire audience join in as well. The evening would not have been complete if The Lumineers didn’t play that same song as a part of their set and reciprocate the invitation.
While I would love to say that I remember The Lumineers set specifically from start to finish–and admittedly, I did try to keep note of each song, especially their new untitled Wesley/Neyla duet and their powerful cover of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”–half way through their hit “Ho Hey” leading man Wesley stops the song cold and says, “Can we put away our cell phones and cameras and just be here?” I would be lying if I said that I didn’t pull my phone out again to snap various must-have photos, namely their unprecedented encore visit to the middle of the crowd for a few as yet un-studio-recorded songs. But I enjoyed being there and soaking up the lights and sounds of The Lumineers, standing between my two closest friends, screaming every lyric back at the band, I regained a little bit of my faith in humanity.
*Correction: “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem” was listed as a Lumineers song, it is in fact a Sawmill Joe song covered by the Lumineers.