Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons


Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons are a fiery sunset one needs to see to appreciate. Photographs won’t do it for you.

I travelled for three and a half hours to see the show and returned the same night to be able to work in the morning. I awoke with an ashtray in my mouth and sand in my eyes - but I had trampolines in my feet all day.

Like many other souls in the Derwent Entertainment Centre that night, I had watched silently, I had sung at the top of my lungs, I had clapped until my hands tingled and I had, at times, wondered if I ought to be making a sound inside that holy temple.

They’re the biggest British band since Coldplay, they’re playing arenas and their sophomore release Babel is on top of the musical heap on both sides of the Atlantic. Your indie credometer ought to be buzzing like a cakeful oven by now.

But it was a beautiful thing.

They opened with the tender 'Lover’s Eyes', followed by a slow waltz, then by songs about hearts and knees and love and grace …

And then Marcus Mumford broke an E string. He had been distracted, noticeably dissatisfied with his foldback levels, turning his back to the audience between songs and leaving the banter to keyboardist Ben Lovett. Then the replacement guitar wasn’t coming through the front of house.

“Fuck it, you’re all so quiet,” Mumford uttered with a grin as he yanked the lead from the body of his instrument. “Let’s play without all this shit.”

And the four friends stepped to the precipice of the stage to sing 'Where Are You Now' completely unplugged, transforming the show from a concert to an experience.

You could have heard a discarded beer can drop. And you did. As well as the voices of those who dropped them, crowing and barking and shitting all over the barn floor. Ignorant people who pay money to see gigs and talk through every fucking song.

But the band played on for those with ears to hear, soaring through 'I Will Wait', 'Timshel', 'Lover and the Light' and 'Thistle and Weeds'. The show became like a pilgrimage for band members, wandering from one instrument to another, from an old world of banjos and pianos to the electric i-Land and back again.

“Those of you in seats, you’re more than welcome to stand,” Mumford calls before hurtling into 'Little Lion Man'. It’s that song with that line everyone can sing. We sang it loud. We also cried out "awake my soul" and "I will hold on hope" and "I will change my ways" and "where you invest your love you invest your life" and I traveled seven hours to see that sunset and the memory buoys me still.

Photo: Nell Townsend
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