Fresh off their Grammy Win for Album of the year, Mumford and Sons came to Camden, NJ on Sunday night.
I was able to shoot them last year when they played Hoboken, and I was super excited to have a chance to see them again. Babel is one incredible album, and getting a chance to hear some of that live- I couldn't pass that up.
Ben Howard from the UK was opening for them. I had never heard of him before, but it only took me about 3 minutes to be thoroughly impressed. Taking the stage with an acoustic guitar, flanked by one electric guitar, one keyboard/bass/sometime drummer , his songs sounded delicate and also strong live. His voice reminded me of David Grey initially, but I am not sure now if that is a fair comparison. I watched his whole set and I absolutely cannot wait to see him play again.
Shortly after Ben left the stage, a huge banner dropped down with the Mumford and Sons logo blazoned across it. A few minutes later, the house lights dimmed and a back light shows the silhouettes of Marcus and company. Babel started playing, and about 10 seconds later the banner dropped revealing the band, already going full speed ahead.
Little Lion Man was up next and it was met with a roar. Their first hit was met with every lyric sung back at them by 6000+ voices. Winter Winds and Below My Feet were up next, bringing the whole room down a bit. The quiet moments in their set were watched in silent awe. It's hard to not stand there, mouth open, when the 4 part harmonies kick in. Below My Feet is that perfect in between song- starting off so slow before exploding towards the end of the song. Mumford definitely know how to ride that energy wave up and down.
Marcus Mumford is probably the most well known member, as most front men are. He is a fantastic singer and he weaves his lyrics in and around the music keeping your attention. You cannot forget about the rest of the band though: Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane, and Winston Marshall. Sometimes they play guitar. Sometimes they play banjo. Sometimes they play keyboards. Sometimes they just sing, their voices made to be heard together.
The set list bounced around both albums: I Will Wait, White Blank Page, Lover of the Light, Roll Away Your Stone, Thistle & Weeds and one of my favorites, Ghosts The We Knew were all included. Backed by horns and strings, they really brought these songs to life on Sunday. And in those more quiet moments, the stage got quiet and the 4 guys sang together, it was easy to see why they have become one of the biggest bands in the world.
In between songs the band talked to the crowd, even mentioning once their reluctance to play a show on a Sunday night. Until they realized Monday was a holiday; "You Americans are so lazy" they quipped.
The obvious crowd favorite The Cave and a wonderful cover of Atlantic City closed out the set. Ben Howard joined them for the last song; a nice little nod to NJ's own Springsteen closed the show on a high note.
It is nice when a band lives up the hype. Mumford and Sons definitely do that in spades. Their short little, mostly sold out, East Coast tour just left us all wanting more. I am sure that 2013 will answer that longing a bit- they are already scheduled to play a couple huge festivals. I personally, cannot wait to see them again.