Mid-’80s temperatures are no big thing for locals, but it’s a bit different for a SoCal band playing into the midafternoon sun and dressed all in black. “Damn, that heat sneaks up on you, huh?” Lord Huron leader Ben Schneider remarked halfway through the band’s 2:30 p.m. set on the Samsung Galaxy Stage.
He quickly added, though, that “a good sweaty show never hurt anyone” as he and his four bandmates charged onward to a decent if not huge crowd that mixed established fans with newcomers. Overlaying classic Bo Diddley and chugga-chugga train beats with more modern indie-styled guitar squalls and rhythm samples, Lord Huron made good on their ACL Fest debut.
Schneider’s an engaging frontman, and he delivers his earnest, often apocalyptic lyrics with sincerity. The band got a bit pretentious at times, using recorded snippets of melodramatic dialogue apparently tied to their new album “Strange Trails” as segues between songs on occasion. Such gravity felt out-of-place on a sunny day in the park.
But when the spotlight was on Schneider’s forthright vocals (with a tone and clarity akin to Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon), the band was on target. Tunes such as the new album’s “Hurricane (Johnnie’s Theme)” and “Ends of the Earth” from 2012’s “Lonesome Dreams” burst forth with an energy and passion that made it clear why the band has been a fast riser on the indie scene of late, selling out the outdoor stage at Stubb’s their last time through town earlier this year.