J created some very high expectations for this post. But I think the bigger pressure is coming from Mumford’s latest announcement. As the NY Daily News pleads to the band: “Mumford and Sons, we will wait for you.” But how long you might ask? “There won’t be any Mumford and Sons activities for the foreseeable future following Friday’s show.”
I was at the Friday show they speak about, ladies and gentlemen, so maybe I got the news before anyone else (even before Rolling Stone?). They announced to us that they were taking a break, they explained that they have been touring nonstop and they need a break. The crowd cheered–I didn’t (because it was sad)–but I think they were cheering out of support. Like, take a break but come back soon PLEASE.
So now for the show. We drove 4 hours from St. Louis to Kansas City and back in one night–can we say dedication? My response to everyone who asked me about the show was that it was “magical.” It was a cool 65 degrees with stars painted in the sky. We found a spot in the middle of the lawn and got comfortable, which is more than I can say for the hundreds of people who lined the sidewalks.
I’m going to skip and go straight to the encore. They boys came back out and sung two songs around one microphone–they basically told the audience to shut the f*** up, and of course we listened! It was magical. They ended the show with a little Bruce, “Atlantic City,” and that is definitely a sure way into my heart.
I reveled in their energy. My (face) cheeks hurt after the show from non-stop smiling. To say this was the best show I’ve ever been to would be an understatement. The band makes you feel in a crowd of thousands like they were just singing for you and that is priceless. To those of you who haven’t seen Mumford in concert, you might have to wait a while, but even if you have to drive 8 hours in one day it is BEYOND worth it. I am a lover of the light. c.
c is currently dancing her socks off in the middle of the country to Mumford & Sons as part of their Gentlemen of the Road series. Not being there has put me in a Mumford mood and while watching a dozen, or maybe, eh, twenty-three videos of their performances, I remembered that I FORGOT TO WRITE ABOUT THE TIME I SAW THEM LIVE LAST MONTH. Some jammer I am, right? c will have a debriefing of tonight’s performance by noon tomorrow. Here is mine…a month overdue…
When Mumford & Sons come to NYC/NJ/Metro-area, they do so in style. Not the signature tweed vest, flannel, bowler hat kind of style, but the we’re-going-to-perform-sold-out-shows-in-the-vaguest-venues-during-ominous-weather-that-will-make-headlines-in-the-newspapers kind of style. Remember Pier A in Hoboken last year? On August 28, 2013, the quartet did it again. They revitalized Forest Hills Stadium, a tennis court with amphitheater seating that magically held 17,000. The venue was frequented by The Stones, Joan Baez, and The Beatles during the ’70s and until the British invaded again this August, the stadium had not hosted a concert since 1997. Don’t call it a comeback.
Getting off the LIRR at Forest Hills was like walking into Magic Kingdom after a curious ride on the Monorail at Disney World. Roads were adorned with M&S logos; streets were shut down and packed with blissful twenty-somethings patiently (yes, patiently in NYC) waiting to enter the Romanesque site. After receiving tennis sweatbands as souvenirs, the sold out crowd hopped on line to buy craft beers, artisan pizzas, and probably turkey legs and/or frozen lemonade. Unfortunately, the Gentlemen of the Road (who should reconsider the lottery system for ticket sales) and the Bowery Presents realized far too late in the game the “growing pains” of the night’s dynamic. Refunds were offered to anyone who did not enjoy their trip to
Disney the Stadium.
However, those of us who came for the music had nothing to complain about. Bear’s Den (who are worth listening to) and The Vaccines (eh) opened and due to a neighborhood curfew, M&S finished the encore by 10:00pm.
Lovers’ Eyes, Babel, I Will Wait, Winter Winds, Whispers in the Dark, Little Lion Man, Below My Feet, Timshel, Lover of the Light, Thistle & Weeds, Ghosts That We Knew, Hopeless Wanderer, Roll Away Your Stone, Awake My Soul, Dust Bowl Dance, I’m On Fire, Reminder, Holland Road, The Cave.
1. Marcus botched a verse during “Winter Winds” and the crowed helped him through. This is why you go to live shows. “For fucks sake,” he’s not Mickey Mouse.
2. “Dustbowl Dance.” Even though Marcus resembles either Tebow or Hilter or both, he makes even my sister speechless during this performance. Mmmhmmm watch it.
3. “I’m On Fire,” a Bruce cover. If you’re a musician and you come to NJ or NYC your choice in covers better be spot on. Between “New York, New York” in Hoboken last year, “Atlantic City” in February, and “I’m On Fire” in Queens, these guys can do no wrong. I couldn’t find the version from this show, but this is the reason I give them even more props because they kindly asked in their British accents to put the cell phones down and just be present for this encore. Or maybe it was something like “fucking enjoy the concert.” We sure did, we sure did.
This is arguably one of the best music videos I’ve seen in years.
Definitely wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall [mountain] for this.
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.
Alright, so if you couldn’t tell from the obvious genius of the video I posted here, Alt-J holds a dear place in my heart. I like the way they think through their music and production. They are one of those bands that are so good I really really really hope they don’t hit mainstream, primarily because I don’t think a lot of people will truly appreciate their originality.
That leads me to introduce you to a cover of the aforementioned song, “Tessellate.” This puts a girl between a rock and a hard place because Mumford and Sons can make anything sound like their own and make it sound awesome. And Alt-J is awesome. So, although Mumford’s performance is commendable, it’s definitely not Alt-J’s.
I hope you’ve heard this by now, but it is one of my favorite jams of late. A comfortable blend of Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, The Lumineers have a great sound. The entire album is pretty amazing and I suggest you give it a listen.
Plus they look like a lot of fun, I wish I could have been involved in the video. a
If you haven’t listened to new Mumford & Sons, your life hasn’t started yet. They pulled off a sophomore album with flying colors and then some. My favorite song (which is a lofty statement because I could probably say that about every song on the damn album) is Babel. Give it a listen and enjoy. a