Tuesday, 10 March 2015

They're back: Mumford & Sons' intimate gig in London

When I heard that Mumford & Sons were going to be taking a “break for the foreseeable future” after the Babel tour, I was devastated.
When I heard not long ago that Mumford & Sons were releasing new material, I was very excited.


Sorry, yes, capitals were necessary. The excitement was next level, I’m telling you.
Tickets went on sale at 9 am yesterday, the day of the gig, and sold out within seconds. Their Facebook page was soon littered with, “I tried at 9 on the dot and it was already sold out,” ”This is so unfaaaaair,” “I bet they just gave all the tickets to their friends and press,” etc. but I was lucky enough (or ninja, you decide) to score two tickets so yippee! Oslo is a very cozy venue with a maximum capacity of 375 people. Pair this with the no-cellphones thing (see below) and the word intimate doesn’t even begin to describe the vibe.

Right, onto the review-y stuff for those curious to hear what their new material is like!

A mention must go to the fact that they took every single cellphone/recording device at the door. The reason for this was because a) they were playing a whole lot of new un-released material which they probably didn’t want leaked all over the internet, and b) it meant that everyone could be 100% present in the room and enjoy the music with no distractions. And it was fantastic.

  • Their sound is far more rock-y, at times quite heavy and even a tiny bit grungy (although could just be the live element – it will be interesting to see what the album brings).
  • One can definitely hear subtle influences of Led Zeppelin and Radiohead, as they have mentioned in recent interviews. Kudos for that, M&S.
  • No banjo!! Which they were actually called out on by an audience member (yup, it was the sort of gig where there was back-and-forwards conversation with the band) at one point, to which Marcus answered along the lines of, “That’s a fair question, I’m not sure really... We’ll get back to you on that.”
  • As the set progressed, their old sound came through more and weaved gracefully into their new material, resulting in a completely new and unique style.
  • For those wondering: Yes, the to-die-for harmonies are still there. As good as ever. Praise the lords.
  • The keyboard player, Ben Lovett,  said in between two songs, "It's so nice to be playing a show without everyone on their mobile phones. We just wanted to have a moment where we could see everybody's faces."
  • The lyrics were as beautiful as always. I cannot wait for the entire album to be released so I can listen to them all over again (and understand and appreciate every word, which is a little difficult at a gig when you’re hearing everything for the first time).
  • Marcus Mumford's voice is like butter. So smooth. And husky. So maybe a bit like butter with toast crumbs in it..? (Yeah, I don't know where I'm going with this either)

One thing that sort of surprised me was they played absolutely no old material. Every single song, from the opening to their encore, was new.
I love the title of their new album, Wilder Mind. I think it fits the mood (shifting from folk to electronic) perfectly, as it is a little “wilder”.

You can listen to Believe, their first single from the new album now!

All in all, I think they’ve transitioned well from their hugely successful past style into a fresh and crisp sound. It gives them a new enough edge to be attention-grabbing, yet still incorporates enough of the beloved older style to keep the old fans (and new, mind you) satisfied. The departure of the banjo, acoustic guitar and hard drum-kick may come as a shock for some fans, but the arrival of synthesizers and a wailing electric guitar carry the sound to new levels.

And now we wait for the new album to drop. Hurry up please 4th May!!

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