Lumineers Live at Johannesburg's Emmarentia Dam

InxStarred Page By Inx, 8th Dec 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Music>Live Music

They played a few songs before they dropped the Ho Hey bomb. As soon as they did, cellphones (including mine) and cameras shot into air. They sang the first verse and then suddenly stopped just as the chorus was about to start. Wesley Schultz asked everyone to put any electronic devices away because he "wants us to be with them". I thought that was really cool of them!

A Day to Remember

On the 6th of December, 14 000 people gathered at Johannesburg's Emmarentia Dam to watch The Lumineers live in concert. The traffic was frustrating and the sun blistering, but with good company and music that's out of this world, it was definitely a day to remember!

Ho... What?

When I heard that the Lumineers was coming to South Africa, I didn't really think much of it. Of course I knew their hit song Ho Hey, but who doesn't? It's been playing everywhere I went for the past two years from shopping malls to the comfort of my own home! But other than that I pretty much didn't know anything about them. My sister, Carma, on the other hand, is a massive fan and became giddy with excitement upon hearing the news. She bought us both tickets for their Johannesburg concert, and by the end of the day I was just as big a Lumineers fan as she is.

The Journey

We live about an hour from Johannesburg and the gates for the concert opened at eleven o'clock. Carma decided that we should hit the road at nine so we can be there at ten to be to be in front of the line so we can get a good spot. Fair enough.
We only reversed out of our driveway at ten o'clock.
Luckily the previous night my mother happened across a news article that stated that most of the highways that lead to Johannesburg would be closed that day since they're shooting a commercial. We quickly planned a new route to take so at least that wasn't an extra obstacle to face.
Carma drove slightly faster than usual while singing The Lumineers (which she had on repeat in her car for the past few weeks) at the top of her lungs, while I was reading the lyrics on my phone so I can also sing along to some songs at the concert.
We arrived at Emmarentia Dam at 11 o'clock, found a parking space surprisingly easy, got our bags full of snacks, sunscreen and a large blanket and made our way into the venue. We had no idea where we were going but luckily there were people walking in front of us that seemed to know the place like the back of their hand. We walked strange little twists and turns and at one point straight through one of the gardens, all the while doubting that our new guides actually knew the way, but eventually we got there. We went all the way to the back of one of the seven lines to enter the piece of land they camped off for the concert. The lines moved fairly quickly and before we knew it we were at the front of the line and the security guard was asking for my ID because I look twelve. Nothing new.
We walked on and found that there were many patches of grass near the stage left unoccupied and so we settled ourselves in quite nicely, looks like the hour we lost that morning didn't matter at all!

Sun, Have Mercy!

That concert was a very new experience for me. All the concerts I've ever gone to was at night and I would usually have a hard time seeing as I'm extremely short and as luck would have it, the tallest person under sun with an afro and a top hat would stand in front of me.
This concert took place at daytime, and everyone was sitting on blankets in the open air having a picnic and I had a clear view of the stage. It was so relaxing! Except for the sun that seemed to try to burn through the sunscreen I applied every hour on the hour and redden my fragile, pale skin. And we weren't allowed to bring any umbrellas, gazebos etc. since, understandably, it'll block the view of all the other concertgoers. Luckily I left that day with not so much as a tan so my constant sunscreen application paid off! But the heat was still intense: 37°C. And even though every single weather report we checked online said that there was a 70% chance for rain between 1 and 3 o'clock, there wasn't a cloud in the air. Which was actually a good thing but around the second time I became woozy from the heat, the idea of rain was becoming all the more appealing.

Opening Acts

I love opening acts. I love discovering new talent, especially South African talent since the SA music industry is a bit messed up. But then again, isn't it a messed up business all in all? But that's a subject for another day, let's focus on the lucky few who are actually 'making it' in the industry:
First up was Alice Phoebe Lou. The moment Alice finished school she packed her bags and set off to travel the world. She became a street musician while travelling Europe and has since then made a name for herself in her new hometown, Berlin. She returned to South Africa to perform her first show ever in Johannesburg, and it was opening for The Lumineers. Not bad!
She captured my attention as soon as she got on stage. Her lyrics are honest and deep and even though she had a bad case of bronchitis, she managed to perform her songs with the same raw power that she usually performs with. I would urge you to check out her SoundCloud. I really hope to hear more from her in the future.
As soon as Majozi hit the stage with his indie-folk country music, the crowd transformed into one big party. He performed with so much energy that even for somebody like me, who doesn't like dancing, it was hard to keep still! The music video for his song The River already has 28 000 views on YouTube, but it should have more.
Lastly, we have Dear Reader, founded in 2006 by Cherilyn McNeil, who also resides in Berlin (I don't know what's attracting all these South Africans to move to Berlin, my cousin moved there last month!). They were quite entertaining to watch and I even recognised some songs that I didn't even know were theirs, these songs being Earthworm and Great White Bear. I felt foolish for not knowing them, but I do now! And I'm excited to discover even more of their music.

The Lumineers

As soon as Dear Reader finished their set, everybody suddenly stood up, which I was pretty pleased with since I thought we were going to watch this concert sitting down... a strange concept as The Lumineers music is so lively it just makes you want to jump up and down! Which is what we did as soon as they got on stage. They opened with Submarines, a song that I chose as one of my favourites on the way to the concert.
There's always a select few songs that gets the crowd really fired up. It varies from band to band and crowd to crowd if it'll be one of their hits or just a random song on one of their albums. At this particular show, it was their two biggest hits Ho Hey and Stubborn Love, as well as a fairly unknown song Flapper Girl, the latter being my personal favourite.
They played a few songs before they dropped the Ho Hey bomb. As soon as they did, cellphones (including mine) and cameras shot into air. They sang the first verse and then suddenly stopped just as the chorus was about to start. Wesley Schultz (lead singer) asked everyone to put any electronic devices away because he "wants us to be with them", which I actually have on Instagram. I thought that was really cool of them. My sister once told me of an article she read which stated that our generation is so caught up in trying to find ways to remember the things that are happening around us (hence Instagram, Twitter etc.) that we're not even living the moments that we want to remember! It was a snap back into reality and for the rest of the concert, my phone was in my bag.
When they performed Stubborn Love a whole new wave of energy washed over the crowd. People started dancing around and singing at the top of their lungs, it was quite a magical feeling that suddenly hit all of us.
They ended their set with Flapper Girl which is one of the most adorable songs I've ever heard. And just like that, the hour and a half show was over. But we weren't done with them. Not by a long shot! After waiting for about five minutes they returned back on stage for a well received encore. They performed Gale Song, three brand new songs, one in which Neyla Pekarek sings a lot more than just backing vocals, which makes me very happy, and ended the show once and for all with Big Parade.

Traffic From Hell

When they played the last note it's like Carma and I had a telepathic connection for a second as we both abruptly started packing everything we brought into our bags, said our quick goodbyes to everyone we met up with there and hastily walked through the crowd of still-cheering people. We got a bit lost on the way back to our car since neither of us really paid attention to the path we took to get to the stage, but eventually we found our way back, only to find a traffic jam in the making. We were too late to miss it.
It took us 20 minutes just to drive down ONE street, and another half hour to get back on the highway towards home. Once we got on the highway, the thunderstorm that was promised earlier that day decided to greet us then and there. And what a storm it was! We couldn't see two meters in front of us and the wind was actually pushing the car side to side. We eventually got home safely and once we did, I showered and climbed straight into bed after an exhausting day! And to top it all off, when I woke up the next morning, I had a cold! But it was all worth it, and I can now safely say without any doubt, I am a Lumineers fan.


Alice Phoebe Lou, Berlin, Cold, Concert, Dear Reader, Emmarentia Dam, Folk, Heat, Ho Hey, Indie, Indie-Folk, Johannesburg, Live, Majozi, Music, Picnic, Rain, Relaxing, Short, Sleep, Snacks, Sun, Sunscreen, The Lumineers, Traffic

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author avatar Inx
Gamer. Daydreamer. Otaku. Bookworm.
"Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking."
Instagram - @inxypandapantz

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Thanks for sharing such a great article. I'm glad you got home safe. Sorry about the cold. Smiles to you!

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author avatar Inx
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Thank you for reading! Smiles to you too! :)

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