Show Review: Mumford & Sons at 330 Ritch (Popscene), 2/11/10

by Gordon Elgart on February 12, 2010

Here's Mumford, in a childless photo.

Popscene is known for getting its share of buzz bands on the way up. Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford & Sons, the newest such band to grace the Popscene stage, commented on this as well.

“There’s a wall of fame downstairs, and it’s a bit intimidating.”

Will Mumford & Sons follow in the footsteps of such past performers like Muse, Bloc Party, Amy Winehouse, The Killers, and countless others? I’m guessing yes. I’m also guessing it’s not going to be cool to like this band in a few years. I should explain.

Mumford & Sons are described as a British folk rock band, but what they truly are is a pop band that uses folk instrumentation as an aesthetic choice. It’s like a band that decides they want a drum machine instead of a drummer. The songs stay the same, but the feel is different. Having just gone to a traditional bluegrass show only two nights earlier, this felt nothing like bluegrass. This was triple-A, live in person.

Now, if you saw Dave Matthews Band back in 1993, you’d know that they were once a hungry, kick-ass band, way too big for the room. Seeing Coldplay in 2000 would have told you the same thing. That’s the feeling I got watching Mumford & Sons. Their songs are too big for the room. The crowd was telling, as they were somewhat rude to the band between songs, chattering more loudly as the show went on, but then cheering with glee after each song. It reminded me a lot of the fans I see at DMB shows. They love the music, they love being there, but the whole paying attention thing? Not so much.

Although there’s not much variety in their songs yet, they have a definite charm to them that promises great things to come. Each song builds around a pretty little melody, some dramatic chords, and then builds to a rousing conclusion before ending with that same sweet melody. It’s a can’t miss formula. Album three is going to be amazing. They played two “new” songs that aren’t on their debut album, Sigh No More, and both of these were spectacular.

Stand-up bass is worth points for sure.

Mumford & Sons attack their set like real veterans. They’ve got a real comfort with being on stage, and their voices blend well when the monitors are working properly (which wasn’t always the case last night). For their giant hit, “Little Lion Man,” which they’ve probably performed hundreds of times by now, they were pitch perfect regardless.

What’s apparent, though, is that they’ve got major populist appeal. Everyone’s going to like these songs when they hear them, and if they’ve got the desire, they’ll probably be a huge band in a few years. And you’ll hate them for it. You’ll talk about how you hate them, and you’ve always hated them, but your Twitter history will betray you. Because although it won’t be cool to like them in 2014, you’d be silly not to like them now.

Mumford & Sons Set list from 2/11/2010:

Sigh No More
Awake My Soul
Little Lion Man
White Blank Page
Lover of the Light (thanks to commenter Katie for help with the title)
Thistle & Weeds
The Cave
Untitled new song (“I fell heavy into love”)
Roll Away Your Stone
Dust Bowl Dance
Whispers in the Dark

Sigh No More comes out February 16th on Glassnote and they were kind enough to send us a copy of it, which we’re going to give away! So if you’re still reading, and you’d like a copy of this excellent CD, and you live in the USA, just follow us on Twitter and then tweet “Hey @SpinnPlatt” and then why you want the Mumford & Sons CD. On Tuesday the 16th, we’ll pick our favorite reason and then we’ll send you out the CD! Thanks for reading!

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

More Posts - Website - Twitter

Read Also:

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie February 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I’ve loved M&S for a long time now, and I definitely feel that mixed sense of excitement and annoyance when I hear about other people loving them too. But their songs do have that anthemic energy about them that puts them in a similar category to Coldplay (ugh) and other bands with a ‘big’ sound and broad appeal. Come 2014 I’ll have to find a new band with which to be utterly obsessed.

Oh, and it’s “White Blank Page” (not White Black Heart), and the first untitled song is callled “Lover of the Light”. And the song and album are both called “Sigh No More”, not “Sign No More”. Not trying to be annoying, just trying to be helpful!


Gordon Elgart February 13, 2010 at 12:02 am

Thanks for your comments and corrections.

I keep making that sign/sigh mistake. I only got it right one out of three times. Advice: don’t be your own editor!


Tony February 17, 2010 at 11:17 am

Just listened to the album on LaLa, really really good, the guy really sounds like Dave Matthews though (the strong American accent from a Londoner was a bit distracting). The Cave is a fantastic song. This followed Lightspeed Champion another great album. A good day for the LaLa new releases browser.


Gordon Elgart February 17, 2010 at 11:40 am

I completely agree with the Dave Matthews comment. His name was not selected by mistake for my remark about seeing them in 1993.


Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: