VICENZA, Italy - Folks started lining up at 2 p.m. outside the Caserma Ederle gym Dec. 5 to see the Lumineers perform.

The free concert, organized and arranged by the USO, drew more than 300 from around the Vicenza Military Community for a couple of hours of uplifting, melodic acoustic music by the touring roots revival band, and fans turned out in droves.

"I think it's the folksiness of it," said family member Kristin Allred, as she waited patiently for the doors to open at 5 p.m. "And they're American, so it makes you feel like you're home."

"I like that it's diverse," said family member Angela Everson. "They've got strings mixed with a folk style. I grew up in Indiana with lots of folk music, lots of acoustic guitars."

It was the first time the Lumineers, whose hit Ho Hey topped the charts across Europe as well as in the U.S. this year, had performed under the auspices of the USO, said lead vocalist, guitarist and pianist, Wesley Schultz.

"I think we wanted to do something earlier, but they have to know who you are, I guess. I guess we feel like we finally made it, 'cause the USO wanted us. Somebody reached out to us on behalf of the USO and we happened to have a day off in the area, so it worked out," he said.

"For me it's personal, 'cause my sister is married to a Green Beret, they have a few kids, and they were stationed here about eight years ago for three years. I got to spend some time with them on and off the base and at Barbarano. I guess it's just really surreal to be back here and to be able to give something back, to thank people for their service . . . and try to provide some entertainment, which is what we do," said Schultz.

"We play a lot of shows and I think this one's really different," said cellist and vocalist Neyla Pekarek.

And what do the Lumineers think makes their sound so popular?

"That's sort of for the listener to decide," said Peharek. "People ask us a lot, you know, what is this folk revival and this whole movement that's been happening. I think everybody's kind of trying to live these lifestyles that go back to something simple. … There's something about that in this style of music, that playing guitars, it's almost like a novelty. Now with a lot of pop music, it's sort of like a lot of laptops and dance beats and things like that. We play a lot of house shows and we hear people just being amazed by people playing actual instruments and singing," she said.

"It's a cool moment in time to be playing," said bassist Ben Wahamaki. "There's a whole lot of emphasis being placed on songwriting and on people who hone that as a craft. It's a fun time."

And so it was for those lucky enough to see them play.

Thanks, Lumineers.

Page last updated Mon December 16th, 2013 at 10:23