The English folk heroes are here. Travelling with some very good friends of theirs, the boys of Mumford and Sons have brought their Gentleman of the Road tour to Australia with all the drums, bells, and whistles that you would expect.
If you haven’t come across the concept of the tour yet it’s truly a wonderful thing. A composition of merry folk music-makers creating a sort of travelling caravan through wee quaint towns with the aim of creating community and joy. Innit that nice?
While this particular show wasn’t quite in the small town setting you can forgive them for making an exception for wanting to play in a city that they acknowledge has had both an impact on their music and selves.
Tonight they shared the stage with some of their talented peers. First to woo the crowd was Willy Mason. A remarkable writer who confesses to keeping his music simple and wanting merely to give his audience pins and needles. On stage he creates a quiet amongst the crowd – a difficult feat when there’s a full arena. It’s an enchanting performance. He modestly runs through his set with humbleness and allows his music to speak for itself.
Following Mason were the marvellous troupe that makes up Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. I beg you, if you haven’t seen this band perform live you should put everything else aside and focus on rectifying this. It doesn’t take long before, as usual, Alex has taken off from the stage, mic in hand, and is heading deep into the crowd. They are heart-warming, they make all your endorphins stand on edge and then explode into tiny dancing bubbles of fun. Each person in the crowd was grinning from ear to ear.
It was an impressive intro to the Mumford boys. By this point the crowd’s patience had been squeezed to breaking point and they were ready. The four-piece ensemble takes to the stage and launch straight into a run of favourites. Beginning with ‘Lovers’ Eyes’ then, without skipping a beat, they send the crowd into overdrive with ‘Little Lion Man’ and ‘Roll Away Your Stone’. It’s a tumult of energy, dramatic spotlights, furious strumming and drumming, and sweat generating excitement.
The night carries on like this with the band building up each song. Even with the softer songs you could gauge that the crowd was anxious to start clapping and dancing again. The Melbournites were sent into gushing appreciation further when Ben (vocals, keyboards, accordion, drums) explained the band’s connection with the city. Explaining that the conception of ‘Below My Feet’ was written and inspired while the boys were last here and spent the day writing at The Forum Theatre.
While the large stadium wasn’t quite the backdrop to the bands whimsical, indie-folk persona it cannot be denied that they put on a mighty grand show and we did have some sweet flourishes of fairy lights so we could at least pretend we were in some green rolling field festival.
For you lucky Blighties, Mumford & Sons will continue their fast-selling tour in the UK beginning in Torquay on Nov 21. Get yourself to the seaside, like.