Live Review: Mumford And Sons

What becomes of the broken-hearted? In the case of these folkies, they get up and make you dance

Yes, it’s long been associated with flower-y dresses, fingerpicked guitar and people – folk, even – who would most likely hit the deck were you to so much as breathe in their direction. But folk, oh lovely, old-fashioned-yet-somehow-more-appropriate-than-ever folk, is the underbelly of everyone’s musical yearning. And even if, looking down at your collection of Britpop compilations, you initially feel like a book blown open at the wrong page, there’s no stopping live folk from infiltrating your nerves when it comes as well-crafted as that of [a]Mumford & Sons[/a]. Forget the page number; these London boys are like an entirely secret chapter of mood-altering poetry.

With their unforced vocals on the almost-a cappella [b]‘Sigh No More’[/b] (a nod to Shakespeare!), the evening begins in all its bluegrass glory. Instantaneously, the crowd becomes a 200-strong choir for [b]‘Awake My Soul’[/b]. “How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes/I struggle to find any truth in your lies”, charms lead swooner Marcus as the audience swoon back. New single [b]‘Little Lion Man’[/b] is set to be king of the folk jungle this autumn, seeing as it’s already causing rabid choreography that’d have [b]Cotton Eye Joe’s[/b] lot asking for direction. And for quite possibly the first time from these terribly polite, head-scratchingly humble folkies, there’s a curse word spat out with quite impressive regret: “It was not your fault, but mine/And it was your heart on the line/I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I, my dear?”. [b]‘Winter Winds’[/b] makes it clear they’re dreamers, listening to heads over hearts and hearts over nothing. The spine-chilling [b]‘White Blank Page’[/b], meanwhile, is so protruding with genuine adoration and timeless love that [b]M&S[/b] leave the butterflies in our bellies tired out. Then [b]‘Thistle And Weeds’[/b], a heavier, sorrowful exploration of finding strength in excruciation, climaxes with fading double bass and raspy vocals.

Tonight, a world away from its origins, we’re treated to hoe-down excellence dealing with love which appears to leave the calm of one’s soul split in two. Yet, we don’t want to pull a [a]Morrissey[/a] and
cry into the piece of stale toast our ex-lover bit into before they left. Instead, we want to dance, clap and sing, leaving a thousand cheers in our wake. That’s the beauty of [a]Mumford & Sons[/a]; they exhaust every consideration of a broken heart and bring it back to life beautifully.

[b]Kelly Murray[/b]


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