“Hello traveler, would you wander down a strange trail?”
These words sent a chill through me as the folk four-piece band Lord Huron wrapped their souls around their instruments and began to sway to the beginning of their new song “Until the Night Turns” at the 9:30 Club Sunday night.
Was I a traveler? Would I dare to venture into the desert, the sea, and the mountains without a map or a compass?
The neon skull floating in between the Strange Trails backdrop gave me the answer—yes, yes because we are not here for long.
But I wanted to stay in Lord Huron’s presence forever.
They orchestrated a seemingly non-existent world filled with vines wrapping around the pockets of my lungs, nostalgic yet triumphant howling, lush forests fitting into the palm of my hand.
It was a communication to nature, a plunge into stories bursting with smoke, mystery and wonder.
The image of the band wasn’t superficial. There are many artists out there who construct a clearly fake persona, but Lord Huron does not. The group’s aviator jackets, bolo ties and hats are embodiments of themselves, a vintage aura that will never be overdue.
A narrator interjected occasionally during the performance; his voice was full of static and a haunting tone, describing the woods, the trail we had chosen to embark on.
You didn’t know who this being was. Was it Ben Schneider, the conductor of the voyage, his voice pristine and wild when the need arose, or one of the other members such as bassist Miguel Briseño, with his black slicked-back hair and leather jacket?
During “Meet Me in the Woods,” I imagined myself in the redwood forest in Santa Cruz, Calif., breathing in the thousands of years of beauty and wisdom, the storms and hissing winds etched across the bark, the lonesome and loving nights woven within its leaves.
The feeling of returning to the wild, of discarding everything that weighed us down was so intense that during the song, I deleted Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter off my phone. The sensation of going through a detox and feeling the rawness of the world without any technology was liberating.
I cried, to the annoyance of the woman beside me as the sentimental song “I Will Be Back One Day” filled the crowd, Schneider’s voice like an incantation.
“You made me swear I’d never forget.
I made a vow I’d see you again.
I will be back one day and I’ll find you.”
As someone who has had to move to many new places, those words unearthed the emotions swirling deep within my façade of normalcy.
The “years keep slipping by” and I keep getting older, the memories become more and more faded no matter how much I’ve tried to smooth the creases, fold them back to their original shape.
The performance was more than just dozens of polaroids hung in the trees, while the photos crafted their own sense of time.
It was the desire to dive into the unknown, finding what you have been running away from. It was taking strange paths, yet finding familiar faces, smells and sounds along the way.
The night ended with a triumphant yell. We belted out “Fool for Love.” My friends and I serenading each other with tears in our eyes to “Ends of the Earth” and then begging one of the stage managers to give us absolutely anything from the band. My friend succeeded in getting drummer Mark Barry’s set list.
Their second album Strange Trails is a continuation of 2012’s Lonesome Dreams magic, an evolution of the heart and guide to a place that was unfathomable until now.
Karla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com.