The Cluny, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Interview For NSR:
21st September 2009
Gone are the stereotypes of middle aged, grass chewing, check-shirted men finger picking banjos to the delight of a gaggle of flowery dresses. Mumford and Sons are surely the figurehead to a new generation of lively folk acts, armed with beautiful vocal harmonies, talented musicianship and mood-altering, poetic lyrics. This is by no means a ‘scene’ more a community of musicians who join each other on tour and contribute backing vocals more often than an England football team on a novelty tournament song.
Tonight is a welcomed return for Marcus Mumford and Co, with various sound issues marring their last visit to Newcastle at an intimate Cumberland Arms gig. They announce their arrival with a hushed, almost acapella version of ‘Sigh No More’ before breaking out into ‘Awake My Soul’ which does more than just wake a dozen members of the crowd who seem intent in barn dancing, and strangely pogoing their way through the set.
Latest single ‘Little Lion Man’ is greeted with a merry chant along from the sold old crowd and looks set to become the bands anthem, the sort of song fans will pester them to play throughout their career. Indeed the band, like a conductor, has the crowd in their complete control. When the instruments cut out the gathering fall silent, hanging on every lovelorn word. Then as the banjo, drums, bass and guitar take over, the audience can’t help but stomp their feet along. The set finishes on the perfect final song, ‘Dust Bowl Dance’. A personal favourite of mine, it’s a track which comes into its own live with Marcus Mumford putting any of his remaining energy into the drum kit.
Tonight we’re treated to a set which plays almost the complete track listing of M&S’s debut album ‘Sigh No More’. A fitting name for an album which, live, perfectly expresses both a broken heart and sorrow before offering hope and optimism. Although the album has received mixed reviews, Mumford & Sons show tonight their gift for storytelling and performance which leaves the crowd spellbound and promises much for their future.
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