In the basement of the Memorial Opera House on Saturday night, Rob Harkel of Imagine Music, LLC. noted that the show that happened on the stage just above his head was something that’d left an incredible impression on him, and everyone who was watching the show with him.
“I think tonight really exceeded everyone’s expectations. It was incredible. Couldn’t be happier with the results of tonight,” said Harkel
That show was Brooklyn-based band The Lone Bellow’s return to MOH’s stage. Two years ago Imagine Music brought them to Valparaiso, and their return was a sold-out crowd pleaser that, to many, topped their last performance on the same stage.
Having a packed and sold out house really shows the true testiment to the band and their fans. Many of the attendees were locals and Imagine Music regulars, but there were plenty of people who traveled quite a bit to the Opera House. Keryn Cannon, who took a “road trip” down from Chicago with her friend in tow, saw that the show was on The Lone Bellow’s tour and immediately bought tickets.
“They are my absolute favorite band. I saw them on their fall tour and they were incredible and told [my friend] that we have to make the trip,” Cannon stated. “I’ve only seen them once before but I’m expecting tonight to be just as great. I’m pumped, they’re so good live.”
It was safe to say most of the audience had that same feeling of anticipation. To start off the night musician David Ramirez opened for The Lone Bellow and warmed up the crowd with his set and excellent band, but it was only a short time before the main act took control of the stage.
The Lone Bellow opened up slow with their aching “Marietta” but the show only ramped up from there. During their last visit the band took advantage of the Opera House’s incredible acoustics and took the floor, without mics, to sing a single song. This time they raised that bar by moving into the middle of the crowd to sing a new song, and then made their way back to towards the stage by playing a couple more. That wasn’t the only time the band and the crowd connected.
From the start a handful of fans stood in the front, abandoning their red velvet seats. By the end of the night more and more had joined them, and with the band taking the energy level up notches at a time, it quickly became electric in the small theater. The Lone Bellow are an act that, combined with their compelling vocals, soaring music, and lively stage presence, really can’t be passed by.
The men of Imagine Music had worked hard to bring the band back to Valpo, and as the evening wrapped up the crowd was certainly thankful that there was a chance to be there that night. Rebecca Swan, who traveled up from Kokomo, Indiana for the concert, said that even though she’s seen the band a handful of times they’re still better than ever.
“I’ve seen [The Lone Bellow] live about four or five times before, but tonight might’ve shot to the top of the list.” Swan stated. “I used to live about twenty minutes from Valpo, so once this show popped up I took advantage of that. It was a really good night, being in the crowd in the front was awesome. They’ve play incredibly, their harmonies are so powerful, and they’re a band that you need to experience live.”
Imagine Music will take a couple months break before their next act in September, with one to be rescheduled, but The Lone Bellow was a strong addition to their 2016 line-up. Who knows if the band will make another return to MOH for the third time, but Saturday night’s show will stay in the minds of the people who were there for their second.