Lord Huron give lovers and phantoms alike a reason to sway at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Lord Huron at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery by Steven Ward
Lord Huron at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery by Steven Ward

If there ever was a more perfect venue for Lord Huron to offer up their haunting, vintage-rock love songs it was amongst the colossal stone crypts and tombstone fields of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Bathed in the ghostly atmosphere of a blue California dusk, the band were a collection of animated phantoms under the smokey light that illuminated them and the black palms that surrounded them.

Led ever into the void by the manic Ben Schneider and his arresting, soul-lifting crooning, they opened the night with the intro to their latest release Long Lost with the woozy, heartache wailer “Mine Forever” before diving into the anthemic folk-rock driver “Meet Me in the Woods.” In his white jacket with the brown shoulder pads and near iconic choice for a hat (which was sadly removed for the duration of the show but brandished when they first came out), Schneider embodied the supernatural nature that Lord Huron’s music evokes.

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From literally coming face-to-face with mortality in the western-spun tale “Dead Man’s Hand” — which led to the outlines of desert hillsides and green cacti onstage to light-up in neon colors around the band — to the mournful swing of “Wait by the River,” Lord Huron are no strangers to conjuring up death for a good story or song.

But for all their morose dealings with death, Lord Huron remain a kinetic tour-de-force live, playing true to their eclectic genre and decade spanning mixtures of rock. Whether hammering away in ecstatic romance on “La Belle Fleur Sauvage” or pining from the grave in the rockabilly jammer “Fool for Love,” Schneider and company were not shy about reminding fans their songs are meant to be danced to. Even slow-burners like “Love Me Like You Used To,” with its buzzing twang and woeful swinging, are meant to be swayed to with a lover in your arms — corporeal and alive or not.

Allison Ponthier at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery by Steven Ward
Allison Ponthier at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery by Steven Ward

The night also featured a special moment with opener Allison Ponthier when she joined Lord Huron to sing their duet “I Lied.” Between Schneider’s bleeding heart cries and Ponthier’s euphonious trill, it was a moment that would have elicited tears from both the stoney graves and the long expired bodies within. As opener, Ponthier played songs from her stellar Faking My Own Death EP which included the crystalline-anthem “Cowboy,” a song about an identity crisis turned self-actualization, and the eviscerating introspective lullaby “Harshest Critic.”

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