By Katie Swinton
Who would have thought a small indie folk band from London, England, featuring many songs with banjos and ukuleles would headline the Grammys and sell out an international tour? Mumford & Sons, recent winners of Album of the Year with their CD “Babel,” have inadvertently entered the mainstream music world.
Although they prefer smaller, more intimate venues, the recent high demand for tickets has forced them into stadium-sized arenas to accommodate their rising fan base. Mumford has brought indie folk into popular music with their hit songs “The Cave,” “Little Lion Man” and the more recent “I Will Wait.” This band, alongside the Lumineers, Imagine Dragons and Fun., has done what Carrie Underwood did for country music—brought a streamlined genre with a particular fan base into popular culture.
Tickets that were previously inexpensive and easy to access have become increasingly difficult to come by and prices for resale have gone up exponentially. Mumford & Sons even released a statement, apologizing for this.
“As musicians and gig-goers ourselves, we hate seeing tickets for our shows up on sites within minutes of going on sale at double and triple face value just as much as you do,” said lead singer, Marcus Mumford. “We don’t control these sites. We can’t guarantee the tickets are real. And we don’t benefit financially.” Try four or five times the original price, Mumford. However, crazy, fanatic, now-poor fans are willing to pay.
It is not often that artists sound better live than on a recording—I’m looking at you, Taylor Swift—but the experience of Mumford & Sons in concert bordered on surreal. The concert began with two opening acts, Haim (hi-um) who described themselves as “three Jewish sisters from the Valley,” and Ben Howard, an English singer/songwriter. Although both acts were talented, they paled in comparison to Mumford’s soulful ballads and energetic folk songs.
Every member of the band is multi-talented, as they have each mastered many different instruments, picking up a new one for each song. Mumford seamlessly jumped behind the drum set while maintaining steady vocals for songs like “Dust Bowl Dance” and others. The band maintained a high energy level throughout their two-hour performance, as did the crowd.
Towards the end of the show, Mumford came into the audience and stood on a smaller stage in the midst of the crowd. Each band member stood around one microphone and sang a series of their slower songs, a cappella. The crowd remained completely silent except for some enthusiastic fans who wanted to proclaim their undying love for the band members. The band played many songs from both their albums, “Sigh No More” and “Babel.”
They ended the show with an unorthodox encore to honor Jake Clemons, nephew of the late Clarence Clemons, who they “picked up” in Dublin—a cover of Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.”
Mumford & Sons will be making some more appearances in the States, performing at the Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington State this summer. They will also be playing at several two-day concert series called “Gentlemen of the Road” across the country over weekends in September which, to no surprise, sold out in minutes.