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Originally published Friday, March 30, 2012 at 5:32 AM

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Folksy rock trio Lumineers play Neumos Saturday

The Lumineers, a folksy rock trio from Denver, performs at Neumos on Saturday, March 31. The band played at South by Southwest this year and at last year's Capitol Hill Block Party.

Seattle Times staff reporter

On the Internet

The Lumineers:www.youtube.com, search "Ho Hey."

Concert preview

The Lumineers

The Lumineers with Y La Bamba and Quiet Life, 8 p.m. Saturday, Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $10 (206-709-9442 or nuemos.com).
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The first time the Lumineers visited Los Angeles, they were robbed in broad daylight.

That's been just one part of a taxing but rewarding initiation this year for the Colorado band.

Dismayed but not disenchanted, band members bought a new set of instruments and a cage to store their gear in. By the time the band returned to L.A. in late March, after a successful stint at South by Southwest, the musicians were veterans of the road. In one year they played 110 shows and traversed the country.

The band will continue that ascent Saturday with a performance at Neumos. The musicians, who refer to themselves as "heart-on-the-sleeve" lyricists, will play for a sold-out show, after switching from the Tractor Tavern, in Ballard, to meet ticket demand.

The Denver-based Lumineers evoke the thoughtful but confident sounds of folksy rock. Lead singer Wesley Schultz pairs his deep unwavering voice with a few simple notes plucked on a guitar. He's joined by Jeremiah Fraites on drums and cellist Neyla Pekarek. Most songs start simply and pick up speed and momentum, leaving the listener tapping along. The Lumineers debut their self-titled first full-length album Tuesday.

Schultz admits that music didn't always come naturally to the three-piece band.

"We really weren't sure how to convey (on stage) what we felt when playing the song," said Schultz.

Engaging with the crowd was key.

"It just takes a couple of audience members to transform an audience," he explained. "Some people start clapping and then everyone is. (It's about) getting through to people."

Just as the band has come of age, so have its lyrics. Some songs deal with a love realized only with time ("Flowers in Your Hair"), a couple learning to commit ("Dead Sea") and a headstrong romance ("Stubborn Love"). The cathartic feel of The Lumineers' music is a sound honed with time, Schultz said.

"You start out imitating and then hopefully you reach your stride," he said. "You become your own compass."

The band is eager to return to Seattle, where Schultz said it played for its first large audience at 2011's Capitol Hill Block Party. Schultz can remember being mistaken for a local band because so many audience members sang along during the set. For a band that had mostly played in small venues and among close friends and family, the crowd of nearly 800 amazed the band.

"I can't believe it," Schultz said of the band's recent success. "The word 'excitement' doesn't capture what we're feeling right now."

Celina Kareiva: 206-384-8904 or ckareiva@seattletimes.com

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