Popular English folk rock band Mumford & Sons has been touring North America over the last month or so and after bassist Ted Dwane underwent a successful surgery (http://www.mumfordandsons.com/news/us-tour-announcement-the-full-english-tour-rescheduled-date#7B6zaZgQcFactpD7.99) tour dates were rescheduled with Milwaukee being added to the list. Mumford & Sons performed yesterday, Sept. 3, at the Marcus Amphitheater following Bear's Den and The Vaccines.
Their set began simply enough, with each of the members of Mumford & Sons singing in place through the darkness, until four spotlights slowly lit them, causing an uproar from the sold-out arena. Throughout the majority of the concert, band members Marcus Mumford (lead vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion, drums), Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo, guitar, resonator guitar), and Ted Dwane (vocals, string bass, drums, guitar) continued in the same simple style, until their classic high-speed tempo changes led to an outburst of energy.
We came here for a party tonight. We're up for it if you are.
The show became more and more impressive and elaborate as time went on, with colored lights and instrumental buildup to both their chart-topping singles and lesser known songs. The highlights of the evening were "Thistle & Weeds" and "Come Together". "Thistle & Weeds" had an incredibly suspenseful buildup with dimmed blue back-lighting and quiet instrumental playing indistinguishable beats until the melody finally played. The subtle blue back-lighting turned to an immersion of red from the spotlights to the back-lights to the bulbs draped over the audience, juxtaposed against white streaming lights creating a rain effect at the lyrics, "Rain down, rain down on me." The production quality of the lights synchronizing with the building tension and power of the song made for an entertaining, emotional display.
During their encore, Mumford & Sons called back opening bands Bear's Den and The Vaccines, making for a crowded stage of musicians. Again, incredible tension built as the crowd wondered which song they would perform together, with the supply of Mumford & Sons songs dwindling. After much suspense, the large group of musicians started playing The Beatles classic "Come Together". Marcus Mumford sang the first verse and closing vocals for the song, with each band's lead singer taking a turn to sing versus and all of the musicians contributing to the song. It was an incredible, one-of-a-kind display of Mumford's vocal range and the collaborative talent of each of the bands. Needless to say, the still jam-packed crowd went wild.
Even Mumford couldn't ignore the staggering size of the audience at the Marcus Amphitheater last night as he yelled out, "There's so many of you! It's ridiculous!", later adding,
Your country is so...massive. Diversity is so cool, you've got to hold onto it.
And while at first it seemed that the band wouldn't address the enormous crowd as they focused on their songs alone, it wasn't long before they thanked each section of the crowd and told short, funny stories. After mentioning that this was their second time performing in Milwaukee, with the first being at The Pabst Theater, Marcus Mumford clarified with the crowd that there was a connection between the name of the theater and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer adding,
I've shotgun many a PBR in my time!
They continued to embrace their Wisconsin crowd as Winston Marshall wore an A.J. Hawk Packers jersey with "Wingo" written on the back. He also had a "Milwaukee: America's Drunkest City" sticker on the side of his lap slide guitar.
By the end of the evening, Mumford & Sons delivered exactly what one might expect from their live concerts. Anyone who's seen their music videos for songs such as "Little Lion Man" or "I Will Wait" can get an idea of what their live performances are like, but cannot get a grasp of their charisma and humor that excites the audience, causing them to dance and sing the whole night through. Whether they sang "Reminder" with only their voices and an acoustic guitar or "The Cave" with all the jumping, foot-stomping vigor one can hope for in a live performance, Mumford & Sons commanded the audience's attention last night, and surely the thousands present left exhausted and completely entertained.
For more information on Mumford & Sons and upcoming tour dates, visit http://mumfordandsons.com/.
Sigh No More
Little Lion Man
White Blank Page
I Will Wait
Lover of the Light
Thistle & Weeds
Ghosts That We Knew
Below My Feet
Roll Away Your Stone
Awake My Soul
Dust Bowl Dance
I'm On Fire