Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mumford and Sons Live At The Enmore, Sydney

After topping the 2009 JJJ hottest 100 earlier this year, around 18,000 votes ahead of 2nd place, English nu-folk outfit Mumford and Sons recently returned to our shores for Splendour in the Grass and a series of sideshows. Following a chilling set at the festival on Saturday, the London quartet brought the house down at Sydney’s Enmore theatre last Tuesday night. 

The sold-out show saw many eager fans arrive early to catch support acts Matt Corby and Fanfarlo. Although much can be said about talented multi-instrumentalists, with the lead singer even trading guitar for clarinet, Fanfarlo were rather disappointing. The bands early Arcade Fire-sound received much praise at Splendour but sadly their performance last week was nothing special.

Since stealing hearts at the St Jerome’s Laneway Festivals back in January, Mumford and Sons have rapidly expanded their Australian fan base. Famous for their gentleman’s waistcoats and liberal use of the word ‘fucked’, Marcus Mumford and Co opened their set with the striking choral vocals and measured pace of Sigh No More.

As the always charming folk four-piece made their way on stage amidst a darkened theatre, the room filled with bright lights, gleaming from behind the band and casting long silhouettes across the walls of the Enmore.

From unadulterated composure to manic chaos, during the second track Mumford and Sons were rushed by ten or so people who ran on stage and started to dance. Joking that they had no idea who these people were, we later discovered they were members of fellow Splendour acts, Boy and Bear and Grizzly Bear.

The between song banter continued at much the same level throughout the set with regular jokes and stories filling the void between songs.  As far a showmanship goes, Mumford and Sons were highly entertaining and a genuine pleasure to watch. From the excited dancing of Ben Lovett on keys, to the captivating howl of Marcus Mumford, the lads were immensely well received. The band even having to graciously decline several requests to “get your cocks out” or “take your shirts off’ (coming mostly from males in the audience). 

The lighting changed mid set with four spotlights now shining down on each member of the band. Building on the already electrifying energy in the room, each song was hugely enhanced by the powerful beat of Marcus’s kick drum that echoed throughout the venue. The audience contributed with monstrous foot stomping, timed with each kick of the drum and building to the extent that the floor began to quake.

Mumford and Sons performance combined the blissful folk vocals with the raw energy of rock in equal measure. From beautiful yet melancholy lyrics to rumbling choruses and banjo breakdowns, Tuesday night’s performance was the best set I have ever seen from Mumford and Sons

 About 40 minutes into their set, the pop hooks and unmistakable melodies of Little Lion Man eventually took flight. Sung with a passionate yearning, each note was drawn out to almost exhaustion.  Later taking position behind the drum kit, Marcus proceeded to introduce his enthusiastic hosts to some of the bands newer tracks including one so fresh it’s yet to be named. Written just days prior in Melbourne, the band road tested the new song on Tuesdays audience. 

Sticking to their signature four part harmonies, the new track was delivered with overpowering gusto and was extremely well received by fans. Surprisingly, Little Lion Man came about much the same way. A little mucking around during sound check, a chord here, a melody there and LLM was born. When first played, the lyrics had to LLM needed to be taped the kick drum at Marcus’s feet. This time however, Marcus was required no ques. Promising much more where that came from, we were assured the highly anticipated follow up album is not far off.

From the newest song to the oldest, the band continued with a stunning rendition of White Blank Pages which stirred the crowd to roar along with the lyrics.  After walking off stage for a few moments Mumford and Sons encored with another new number before closing with The Cave when they reached the pinicle of the Tuesday night’s incredible performance. 

Post and Pics By Bec Clark

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