Posted in music | pictures on February 19, 2010

words & photos by Sarahana

Freelance Whales

Mumford & Sons is further proof that when it comes to popular taste, being good enough will get you far. Despite a rating system that makes little sense whichever way you look at it, Pitchfork was correct in stating, "Mumford & Sons are in the costume business. They're playing dress-up in threadbare clothes."

But guess what? Tons of people love the costume business, and there is "good" in "good enough". Lending to that "good-enough-ness" is, primarily, singer Marcus Mumford's distraught voice, which, on a purely aesthetic level, can remind you of Michael Stipe's inherent agony. Except, Marcus sounds like he was specifically engineered for songs that take after Biblical parables, teeming with betrayal, disasters and lessons. The songs aren't half-bad (though vaguely unsatisfying), and the band members are all proficient musicians (Marcus' voice didn't flinch when he was pounding on drums), but ultimately the frustration comes to this: in every work of art you hope to detect the artist's moment of inspiration, and in Mumford & Sons, there is no such revelation.

However, when it comes to pop music, the fitting principle is: to hell with art. Whatever makes people feel like the music is speaking to their lives and emotions is good enough! And given that their songs are a series of allusions to strong emotions, it's no surprise that Mumford & Sons is listed in several major festival line-ups and has already sold out most of its upcoming shows.

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Freelance Whales opened the sold out show at Bowery Ballroom in NYC last night (2/18). Note that the above review was from Sarahana who shot the show. We have a 2nd viewpoint coming soon. More pictures from that show below...

Freelance Whales

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Freelance Whales

Mumford and Sons

Freelance Whales

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Comments (42)

P4k gave a bad review, I'll never listen to these lads.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:10 PM

Curious - if you had such a lackluster view of them - why did you go?

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:18 PM

"However, when it comes to pop music, the fitting principle is: to hell with art. Whatever makes people feel like the music is speaking to their lives and emotions is good enough!"

depressing to find that on this blog.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:19 PM

those sons killed it last night...refreshing to see bowery ballroom full of so much rowdy energy for once.

and freelance whales were fantastic!!!

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:20 PM

@anon 3:18 i went because i wanted to have my own opinion of them. i had never seen them live and wanted to see what they were like.

Posted by sarahana | February 19, 2010 3:21 PM

depite what you believe about music as art, there's no denying that the majority of people were having an awesome time at this show. it's all about what makes your body move and your mind happy sometimes.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:25 PM

Oh, well then. Sorry you couldn't detect his inspiration from watching the live performance.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:27 PM

not sure how anyone can listen to the freelance whales record and not think it is the cheesiest thing they have ever heard

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:28 PM

3:25 It's just a bullshit subjective opinion anyways. :)

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 3:33 PM

The show was amazing, the band was amazing - ur review is shit. "in every work of art you hope to detect the artist's moment of inspiration, and in Mumford & Sons, there is no such revelation.". What does that even mean? Can't u just like something becouse it feels good without looking any further. What were u looking for? What should I have been looking for? Your writing is so laboured and contrived. It's painful to read and has no inspiration but snobiety. They're not a Picasso and shouldn't be analyzed as such.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 3:39 PM

@JohnSmith i totally agree. that's why i said "to hell with art". i also agree that my review was somewhat contrived, but i love Fleet Foxes, and i'm sure that makes me a little less contrived.

Posted by sarahana | February 19, 2010 3:47 PM

Why even talk with a negative voice if u enjoyed it. Why not just say it was great and not explain that u couldn't find inspiration. Again what were u looking for? Where would u have found it? Have u found it before? What band? What was the inspiration u found them to have? I just don't get it!

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 3:52 PM

You know what ultimately pisses me off about ur review is that at it's root it's completely passive aggressive. Even ur compliments are a slap in the face. And u like them??!!

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:06 PM

sarahana-

Don't apologize, especially to someone who won't even type out "you." And used "snobiety" in a sentence.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:09 PM

^^
Yeah, god forbid we discuss anything. You're an idiot, John Smith.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:12 PM

by the way, i disagree with pitchfork that the band's "play at quaint family businesses" is "a shallow cry of authenticity"; the play seems as intended, and so does the decision to be in "costume business".

Posted by sarahana | February 19, 2010 4:27 PM

need to apologize for last comment. i thought it was u writing back. didnt realize it was someone else. sorry.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:29 PM

but in general. who can stand grammar and abbreviation nitpicks. especially in the day of the smart phone. its done for efficiency purposes get over it 4:09. now that im on a computer, here is a "you" for ya. happy.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:31 PM

It's a start. Maybe find the shift key next.

Posted by 4:09 | February 19, 2010 4:34 PM

4:34 is probably always constipated.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:36 PM

It takes my brain longer to decide to write "u" than my fingers (or thumbs, smart-phone guy) to type "you."

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:37 PM

hey 4:34 why dont you read before you post. your entire comment was off base because sarahana never apologized, she clarified. GET A LIFE AND ADD SOMETHING TO THE CONVERSATION ALREADY.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:39 PM

um 4:37 are you saying that im writing u to be cool. do u think im cool when i write u. whats your point??? why are you jumping on the grammar nazi bandwagon. i dont get it. if you think what i said in my substantive post was inappropriate, on-point, rude, or whatever, say something about that. why are you talking about my grammar and abbreviations. why? why do people like you exist.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:45 PM

Hey John Smith, I'm not 4:34, but you have no right to say "add something to the conversation." You seem to have explicitly suggested that if you "like" something, that should be it - no further conversation necessary or even allowed.
And I quote: "ur review is shit"
"They're not a Picasso and shouldn't be analyzed as such"
"Why even talk with a negative voice if u enjoyed it."
"Why not just say it was great and not explain that u couldn't find inspiration"
etc.
You seem to have no capacity for complex and divergent feelings about things, and your immediate launch into statements such as "ur review is shit" don't exactly invite "conversation."

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:47 PM

John Smith,

You opened yourself up for criticism the moment you opened up your mouth, now Brooklyn Vegan commenters will feast on you. If you have trouble being illogically critiqued I have to recommend avoiding stating any opinion on this website.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:50 PM

your right. i probably wrote hastily and without considering my tone. however the tone of my email was meant to be negative. hence the negative statements. but in retrospect i could have written my opinion in a more pleasant manner and apologize to the author for being harsh.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:50 PM

also i never said that we couldnt have a conversation about the band. i just didnt get the article and asked for clarification. i asked what inspiration she was looking for? i really like this band and didnt like the articles tone or analysis. as far as feasting the only feasting thats been going on revolves around my grammar and capitalization.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:54 PM

THIS IS THE DUMBEST COMMENT THREAD I'VE EVER SEEN ON BV...AND I'VE SEEN A LOT OF DUMB COMMENT THREADS.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:56 PM

"as far as feasting the only feasting thats been going on revolves around my grammar and capitalization."

as i said, "illogically critiqued"

I also suggest just walking away from this. These "conversations" always take the route of a downward spiral here.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:58 PM

^^
WE DID IT, EVERYBODY!!

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:59 PM

glad i could be the catalyst. anyway this will be my last post. ill let you guys get back to your more important commenting. again sarahana i apologize for being harsh. just got worked up.

Posted by John Smith | February 19, 2010 4:59 PM

4:56, are you new here?

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 4:59 PM

Hai guyz.

John, I'll admit it...the grammar shit was intended to get a rise out of u. I could tell by ur "emails" that u maybe weren't the sharpest commenter to ever enter the BV fray. I'm sorry I messed with u, it was wrong. It's not ur fault anyway. Ur parents sort of doomed u to mediocrity by slapping u with such a generic name. And by just slapping u.

Posted by 4:34 | February 19, 2010 5:20 PM

I had a good time at Bowery last night - crowd was super amped all night.

Also - how come the 'meh' guy hasn't shown up yet?

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 5:55 PM

john smeht

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 6:21 PM

^^^^
So simple, yet so effective.

Posted by Anonymous | February 19, 2010 7:49 PM

didnt see the show - excuse me for going to an art school and getting fucking tired of discussions of beauty ? art? and subjectivity. It goes nowhere... What annoys me most about BV is that all ppl do is try to provoke others... instead of talking about why one did or did not like the show you write about how dumb ppl must be to like something. Now thats fucking dumb. but le sigh...

Posted by hmm... | February 19, 2010 8:55 PM

P4K gave them a more than necessary bad review to get people revved up to go out and buy their record. There's no way in hell it deserved a 2.1.

Reverse psychology people.

Posted by Anon | February 19, 2010 9:31 PM

@8:55

You are not excused for going to art school.

Posted by Anonymous | February 20, 2010 4:10 PM

these guys are one of the best live bands on the planet. Given, they do use the same little tricks in EVERY song, and aren't incredibly original... but hell, they write great hooks and can really move a crowd. This show was incredible.

Posted by sk | February 20, 2010 4:38 PM

Very jealous about this show, hoping to see these guys soon. Sigh No More is a solid album, definitely recommend checking it out. myspace.com/mumfordandsons

Posted by MattKlomp | February 27, 2010 2:18 AM

i was at highline and not williamsburg and the set list posted here seems to fit though I thought they only played 3 songs in the encore (definetely slush and take it in were two of them) though i could be wrong.

Posted by Girls Games | December 4, 2011 3:10 PM

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