Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Re-The Lumineers

Thank you for writing this Bob.

From the beginning, the core of Wesley and Jeremiah was that they were true songwriters, driven by the creation of full albums. In our age of one-off content, they’ve been creating art that transcends any moment. That authenticity translates, and fans feel it and own it. It also implements a captivating show that moves tickets because the episode isn’t driven by any one song.

In 2012, in one of your newsletters, you mentioned the band in the context of “They’re on Dualtone!!” Ten years and four albums later, they’re still around and we couldn’t be prouder.

Hats off to any incredible team and generation of bands.

Paul Roper



Hey Bob –

I’m glad you read this article and took the time to learn about The Lumineers’ recent success. I wish I could say you just got out of the loop, but you captured the exact reaction I’ve been hearing about the band for over a decade.

Especially this year the band has risen to another level, I’ve purposely covered a lot of shows and had people in the industry watch them in person, the reviews are always the same…

“Gosh, I don’t know”

“It’s a show”

I think this disconnect is due to the fact that the artist’s development is not flashy. It’s hard work. It didn’t get the news. It doesn’t get clicked. These guys have been trying for over 10 years to get to this point and have done it the hardest way.

While it’s true that you mention that it’s all about music, it’s only half-truth. It’s all about SHOW. This has been key to the development of the band’s tour. That’s a special sauce.

Wes and Jer’s vision has always been clear in the live demo. Every detail about the performance was considered and thought through and it was reflected in the final performance. The music and performances are more in the style of Tom Petty and Springsteen. Authentic, catchy, well-crafted songs and the live performances that back it up…

And we’ve always kept our fares reasonable because we know if we let people in the room, they’re going to switch. I can say with 100% confidence that no one has ever been to a Lumineers show and felt their money wasn’t worth it. They may not like the music, but no one left the show saying “I can’t believe I paid X dollars for this”. Live music should be fun. So if a regular fan leaves a show feeling that their experience is valuable, there’s a good chance they’ll come to see the band again. That’s it…not complicated. It just takes a long time to get to the point of hitting the stadium.

It also helps, as you point out, the team is a well-oiled machine, all pulling in the same direction, which is very rare. Not only Activist and MTG, but Dualtone (their brand from day one), Jim Merlis (their PR person from day one), Richard Grabel (their lawyer from day one), Rit Venerus (their business manager from day one) and Sara Full (their TM/PM).

If you want to slowly build your career in ten years, all it takes is one bad apple in the group to poison the well; be suspicious of decisions made or people playing politics to try to advance their own agenda in the band . We all know what’s going on…

So when we start thinking about touring in 2022, Coors is a no-brainer. In the last cycle, we sold 55K+ tickets at Fiddlers. When the idea for Wrigley came up, we decided it was time to make a statement. I hate the term “statement game” because most of the time it’s not. But when we decided to play Wrigley, these guys (and teams) put their butts on the line.

I don’t know if you noticed, but Wrigley Field didn’t have another show the weekend we played, and you’ve done it long enough to understand what that means. Playing a stadium is not cheap. It’s almost impossible when you’re not splitting the cost with another show. It’s really possible that we could do 60%-70% of our business and these guys would come home with a payday that was more in line with playing The Riv than Wrigley.

But for the band and the team, we knew it was time for people to take notice. When it comes to industry attention, we have been flying low profile for a long time and the whole team is involved.

It worked. (call)

Pollstar articles aren’t mainstream, but we don’t need mainstream coverage. Fans know the band and the show. This story needs to be told to people like you. People who have been doing this for decades but have no idea what this band is.

You ask who put Pollstar together. Aside from our PR guy Jim Merlis, it’s Louie and his team, especially Sara Winter-Banks, that make the problem so bad. She’s found a record number of ads for the Pollstar problem, and she’s on a mission to beat it. I watched her get the venue general manager to sign a napkin promising a full-page ad. She burned the phone and applied just the right amount of pressure to get everyone involved.

I think that’s the difference between Louie and MTG. When they are, they are. And they’re not “involved” in many of the shows, so their team pays more attention than anyone else to the specifics of making the tour a success. When they’re on board, they get ownership and attention. Louie is an otherworldly figure and an absolute legend in the industry. But without a team, you can’t get there (or stay there) without executing the finer details at the highest level. When asked about The Lumineers’ success, he will be the first to point the finger at his team.

Thanks again for taking the time to give the band some ink. This is what we have been missing.

Hope to see you at Soldier Field!

the best,


Joe Artamian

Wasserman Music Chicago


About the luminaries and “paying their dues…starting at the bottom” –

I grew up in the town next to them and we were about the same age. Wesley and Jeremiah are actually from Ramsay, New Jersey. It’s a small, tight area in the shadow of New York City, where really — sports are king. Especially for young people and notoriety in the local community. This week’s county high school athletes were lit at the brightest lights and the artists were considered freaks, which was totally fine with us because it was the freaks who came out and many athletes ended up falling. But the Wesley and Jeremiah sheds, and then the sheds more. quietly. This, in turn, is a testament to how passionate and sincere they are about their craft.

We have a mutual friend who owns a bar in a city block. Of course, that’s a sports bar. The Lumineers would play there, just for the chance to play. Often a minority. Sometimes only for staff and passersby. Then…. They moved to Denver (W & J) and the music became simple, refined and clear. The launch of Mumford & Sons helps with timing. But my point is that the Lumineers never stopped. With no frills, people were and were drawn to them. What you hear on the record can also be played alone on the off-court acoustics. They touch on important topics and build real relationships. One of them happened to be a young band called CAAMP, which the Lumineers have now taken over and happened to be in a very similar genre. to find out.

Your letter raises a question. We think there is a confusing or complicated answer. But really – it’s pretty simple. Lumineers are sincere. I highly doubt they would ever want another “hehe”. They are storytellers, happy to share old stories but seem more willing to tell new ones based on fundamental strengths.

where are we? I don’t know where we are. But it will be fine.

– Jeff Gora
wave of artists


Bob, I’m a community college teacher/writer/filmmaker. This week, I screened again Lumineers’ short film “The Ballad of Cleopatra” for a few of my classes. It’s 24 minutes long and consists of several music videos, but it’s not a music video. This is a movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth your time.

It’s here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXsQJhoauxc

They tried again with Album III, with little success. It’s longer and darker.

Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPO_UfJieKs

My point is that Lumineers aren’t just doing the same thing. Not only are their albums old-school, but they also tell cohesive stories.

I don’t have much contact with their latest release – I’m not sure if there is a movie to go with it. Can they do it again?

If you haven’t already, check these out, especially the first one. I’ve been exposing college students to it because I want to spread the word. Most of them knew the Lumineers, but they were blown away by the movie.

–Joe O’Connell


I’ve probably seen over 1000 shows in my life, and The Lumineers at MGM Las Vegas last month was one of my favorites. Their music is a feeling, an atmosphere, and for me, I associate it with a road trip across America. Their production and visuals are top notch. The whole experience is very cinematic. A real show, the music itself sounds louder than all the outside BS artists use to cover their lack. It’s classic storytelling, and the classic sound can last in the depths of time. Their music never gets old for me, which is to say, now I’ll flip through an album and never go back. Lumie’s music will last a long time, and hopefully the band will too.


Blake Narnia

Co-founder of We The Beat

Las Vegas, Nevada


I ended up seeing Lumineers because my daughter was sick and had to bring her friends. I was blown away. The dynamics and delivery of their music are so simple and totally captivating in a stage setting. They make the room feel small. To be clear, when Ho Hey comes along, I switch channels because I’ve heard it so many times. But life…they are incredible. They totally won me over and I’m tired of it. I believe the reason they sell such a large stadium is because they have a deep connection with their fan base and have grown for over 20 years.

Matt Butler


Hi Bob, we just saw The Lumineers in Austin (new Moody Center) last month and it was an incredible show – one of the best we’ve seen in years . You read very well. They create an atmosphere. While we love their music, it took us by surprise. We saw them over 8 years ago when they went bankrupt and their stage presence and performances have improved a lot. Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites and the entire band put everything into their performances, running around the stage, dancing, and more, every song. Unlike many bands where only the singers live, everyone in the band is full of energy, walking up front to play for the crowd and pulling the audience into the show. There is an authenticity to the band even though they play the same track at every stop. They’ve honed their live performances so much over the past few years. So after being there, I’m not surprised they’re selling out stadiums right now.

It’s so rare these days for a band to put so much into it night after night…

Bands can learn a lot from The Lumineers live.

Dave Kroll

Austin, Texas


Because they put on a great show! They switch sides. I was one of them, but I went with my wife 6 years ago and they blew my mind that their performance was not flashy in any form or form. It’s for the fans, who beat their hearts out.

good for them.

Jeff Sackman


I came to The Lumineers through a beer shop.

Phil Brown


They play long, sound great live, and stay connected with the audience. What more do you want?

Thanks, Tom Quinn


I think part of their popularity is that their songs seem to have been played at every wedding since 2012. A wedding DJ can keep the band alive. This is certainly the case with Asian Bollywood music.

Kevin Conners

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