Gorgeous. From the artful songwriting of each song to the visuals on stage and striking screen printed show posters, every detail of Louis & The Hunt’s show was thoughtful and well crafted.
It can’t go unmentioned that three bands performed for this show in the following order: The Violetness, Scattered Trees, Louis and the Hunt – and Ryne Estwing is in all three bands. Estwing is frontman of Louis and the Hunt, but also plays bass in the other two bands from the line-up. This began as his solo project, but after watching him shine as a lead singer, it’s difficult to imagine him *not* being a frontman.
Truth be told, a lot of new bands often feel like a random lot of music lovers with extra time on their hands to play gigs. Listen to this band for one minute and it’s very clear they are professionals who have worked along Estwing’s side to help this project take shape into a soulful and stunning entity.
Every square foot of that endearing Schuba’s stage was occupied by either a musician’s body or equipment; two kits set up for percussion; someone on keys; mic stands, chords and tambourines taking up floor space; the lovely presence of a violinist. A lot was going on within limited square footage, but when it all came together it was nothing short of arresting. The band kicked off the first song from the self titled debut album and the room was hooked. No audible chatter bouncing off the back-of-room acoustics as is typical at this venue.
With music very much in the vein of Local Natives, the vibe of Louis and the Hunt proves to be both chill and energizing at the same time. The composition of each song feels like it was given such careful attention, like these songs have been hand-stitched with threads of authentic emotion. “They Saw Those Lights” invites you to follow them into a gentle, yet deeply felt song with Estwing’s vocals drawing you into the way the song is woven. He sings in a way that is tinged with both sadness and warmth; as if he has gone through hardship but is audibly joyful to share it with us through song.
A stand-out with honest and vulnerable lyrics is “Footprints on a Bed” wherein Estwing sings, “You always fall asleep when I’m awake and I can’t sleep,” and, “All of this time, it’s been for you. Never for me.” Talented Scattered Trees lead singer Nate Eiesland supported vocals beautifully. One listen will likely leave you humming or whistling the chorus as you hearken memories of any selfish lovers of the past. The brilliance of this song is that so many sounds fold into the track, but with enough hushed moments for details to shine; the nakedness of the vocals, whimsical clicks of percussion throughout, the stark drums beating with restraint toward the end.
On the note of drummers, the drumming on “Day Trip” is of rockstar caliber. “American Heart” draws on the impact of multiple voices singing in unison to deliver lyrics and “Telephone Wire” ends with a culmination of song that captures what it feels like to be alive.
There’s something special about Louis and the Hunt. Here’s hoping Ryne Estwing will enjoy the limelight because it’s where he belongs.