I’ll admit, I am one of those terrible people who finds it hard to like a band as much when they get big. After seeing Mumford & Sons play two very small shows, watching them at a larger venue seemed sort of wrong, and I’m not going to lie, I went in with something of a negative outlook. And for a while I was proved right. Newcastle Union is a shit venue for a start; its acoustics aren’t particularly good and there are two rows of pillars either side of the stage, meaning the size of the venue is effectively halfed immediately. Unfortunately, they don’t take that into account when they sell the tickets, meaning the centre of the room was uncomfortably tightly packed (I know there’s all that shit about essential support, and making sure the basement roof doesn’t fall and crush everyone inside, but that’s just being picky). Not only that, but they’d rigged the sound up as if it was a rock gig meaning the drums tended to muffle any kind of quieter instrument being played. Finally, my friends and I were flanked by drunken twats, knocking into everyone around them and football chanting to any kind of anthemic song they knew and talking their way through the quieter or new songs.
I was in a bad mood for a little while. Soon though, they got the sound right and the twats moved away after a few songs and we were left alone (if tightly squeezed together) to just watch the band, and from that point on the gig became very good indeed. You see, no matter how big they get, I can’t this band losing the charm that made them so much fun in smaller venues. They graciously thanked the crowd, made small talk about the city and just had a ball onstage, throwing themselves wholeheartedly into every song and never allowing a dull moment. They were clearly bowled over by the sheer size and noise of the crowd who absolutely screamed after every song – and so was I really. It’s amazing how small things can affect your view of a gig; once the twats had left, I suddenly had a new-found appreciation for the varied crowd.
The set was what could be expected of a band still advertising their debut album – mostly made up of album tracks and singles with a couple of newer songs thrown in for good measure. But that’s not to say it wasn’t good, these are tracks that have clearly been honed until they’re played right every single time and songs like ‘The Cave’ sound absolutely magnificent nowadays. The harmonies were absolutely perfect, the instrumentation was worked together beautifully, even when some of the band members had to switch halfway through. There’s a reason Mumford & Sons have risen above their folky peers in sheer popularity; almost every song is a crowd pleaser, and judging by the new songs that’s not likely to stop just yet.
1. Sigh No More
2. Winter Winds
3. Roll Away Your Stone
4.White Blank Page
5. Untitled New Track (Similar to first album tracks – all about the build up)
6. Awake My Soul
7. Little Lion Man
8. New Track (All electric instruments, loud crescendos but more indie than folky)
9. Thistle & Weeds
11. Dust Bowl Dance (YSI)
12. The Cave
13.The Banjolin Song
14. New Track (Electric instruments again, but more of a hoedown feel)