On Tuesday night, New Yorkers strolling down Bleeker Street kept pausing outside (le) poisson rouge. They’d look down at the sidewalk square lit up with a projected image of a green gemstone, then glance at the line stretching down the block, before finally asking, “What event is this?” The answer: Lord Huron. The Michigan-bred, LA-based band was treating devoted fans to an intimate show ahead of the April 20th release of their new album, Vide Noir.
Lord Huron has always been a visual project as well as a sonic undertaking—the Easter eggs hidden in their music videos and the characters that populate their songs are all part of an immersive, imagined world. The teaser video for Vide Noir, which is styled as a home shopping commercial, is no exception. If you call the number on the screen, a silvery recorded voice informs you that all representatives are busy … and the current wait time is seven eons. As you navigate through the menu, you’ll hear clips of songs from the forthcoming album in the background while a chirpy sales representative urges you to buy products like the Consciousness Neutralizer and Stargazer’s Harness.
These visuals—a crystal-stoppered bottle, a flickering emerald, a bird’s eye view of a city aglow—played in a loop on LPR’s screens before the show. The gig was a surprise addition to the band’s upcoming tour. (Their May show at Beacon Theater is already sold out, but there are still tickets left for their two-night run at Brooklyn Steel in August.) It’s been more than a year since Lord Huron last played in New York, and the anticipation in the room was palpable as good-natured cheers sounded out from the floor when a tech crisscrossed the stage to perform one last line check.
Lord Huron comprises Ben Schneider (vocals, guitars), guitarists Tom Renaud and Brandon Walters, bassist Miguel Briseño, and drummer Mark Barry. They were joined on stage Tuesday evening by Anne Williamson (who, along with Walters, forms the folkestral My Name Is You).
The set opened with new material, “Ancient Names Pt. 1” and “Pt. 2.” It’s a hard-charging pair of songs, pushing the rockabilly swagger of tracks like “World Ender” from sophomore album Strange Trails into garage punk territory, all on some stardust high. Pt. 1 starts off with a throwback sci-fi vibe, an eerie wash of Mellotron that’s overtaken by angular, assertive percussion as Schneider weaves a tale of fortune-telling and a femme fatale from another dimension.
Before launching into the next song, Schneider thanked the audience for coming out. “It feels good to be back in New York,” he said, before adding, with a smile, “We have a new record coming out. We’re excited and now we’re just waiting for the suits to let us release it.”
The joy radiating from the audience was mirrored by the band members on stage, who were all smiles and intense focus as they ran through a set jam-packed with crowd favorites from Lonesome Dreams and Strange Trails. About halfway into the set, Briseño stepped up to a Moog theremin for the haunting intro to “Way Out There.” In addition to “Ancient Names,” the band performed four songs from the forthcoming album—”Never Ever,” “Wait by the River,” “Back from the Edge,” and “Vide Noir.”
After the show, concertgoers lingered in the anteroom. A PR team snapped Polaroids of fans in front of a neon gemstone backdrop, and handed back photos tucked inside a black sleeve embossed with a green metallic design. Back out on the street, passers-by continued to pause, gazing down at the projection on the sidewalk. The green lettering instructed them to “Follow the Emerald Star.”
Thanks to Brian for the setlist photo and video of “Way Out There.”
Article: Vivian Wang