As told in Rolling Stone‘s recent Mumford & Sons story, “The members of Mumford & Sons have no trouble saying sorry. ‘We’re not, like, hard men,’ Marshall says. ‘We’re emotional, weeping pussies. We’re not, like, rock and roll. If AC/DC had ever apologized, that’d be the end of their career.'”
If you haven’t read that story, I highly suggest you do because you’ll learn every band members’ strengths, and their weaknesses (of being weak) as a band. You’ll also learn why the second album, Babel, sounds very similar to their first, Sigh No More. If you listen closely, every song tells a different story; they are much more instrumentally sound on Babel. This is what it is like to be an artist. It’s the same reason why painter Mark Rothko’s work is a variation of another. It’s important for everyone who says that “every song sounds the same” to understand that they were simply not ready to stop making the music they wanted to make. Why would they stop if it sounds so good?
The sold out show at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on February 16, was a w e s o m e. Mumford & Sons have some Jersey mojo because when I thought their kickoff show in Hoboken was outstanding, they just had to put on another outstanding show in South Jersey. Haim opened the show for Ben Howard who preceded Mumford. Haim, a band of sisters, didn’t do it for me, although many of the Philly hipsters were thrilled to see their dramatic performance. While I favor this tribal-drum-beating trend that was featured in all three sets, words can’t explain how nice it was to have Ben Howard break up the night. Actually, they can: he was a breath of fresh air. You should probably listen to him right now. Or I’ll make you in my next post.
It’s easy to lose yourself in Mumford’s songs when Marcus Mumford seems to be pouring his heart and soul out, confessing his rage, and passionately apologizing for being incredibly attractive and good and what he does. Well, maybe I exaggerated the latter, but every word he sings he sings to me and you and the person who inspired the song. When you sing along, you feel like every word you sing is to that person (and maybe to Marcus, too). Like they said in Rolling Stone, they have no problem apologizing.
The night ended with an encore of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” Everyone poured back on stage: Mumford with Marcus at the drums, Ben (who I think was MIA), Haim, and all of the outstanding string and horn accompaniments. Imagine a packed bar down the shore around closing time. Everyone has their last beer of the night in one hand and someone else in the other. Well, this bar was a few thousand deep. Blissful, everyone bounced up and down, sloppily shouting the words to a New Jersey anthem. Bruce’s song or not, that’s how every Mumford & Sons show ends…with a smile on your face. Sorry I’m not sorry.