photos by Vincent Cornelli, words by Rachel Kowal
one of the sons
I'm not sure when or how it happened, but sometime in the past year Mumford & Sons got big. From Cleveland to Phoenix, the British four-piece has sold out the vast majority of their upcoming tour dates, and their two shows this week in New York were no exception.
The evening at Webster Hall began with a seven-song set by Australian band, The Middle East. Like the main act, the openers had a lot of energy and a number of talented singers. They also exhibited a wide range of moods during their performance. For some songs, the bass boomed powerfully from the speakers and shook the room. But for others, like "The Darkest Side," they took a much more restrained and melodic approach, and the group's token female keyboard player, Bree Tranter, even had a lovely vocal solo. Their final song, "Blood," was particularly beautiful. The song begins gently but eventually crescendos into a lively round of group vocals.
After a long wait between sets, the impatient audience started cheering when the large Mumford & Sons banner unfurled against the stage's black backdrop. Finally, at the tech guy's signal (a few rapid blinks of a flashlight), the band took to the stage to the crowd's great delight.
Lead singer Marcus Mumford kicked things off with the title track from their debut album, "Sigh No More." The floor of Webster Hall started shaking during the very first song as the crowd bobbed up and down in time to the music, proving that this was not your typical group of ambivalent scenesters.
"This is one of the biggest shows we've ever played... we're all very excited," Marcus yelled between songs. With the opening notes of "Little Lion Man," about six songs in, the energy level in the room escalated, prompting lots of clapping, dancing, and a sing-a-long session from both the audience and the band. "Roll Away Your Stone" also got pretty rowdy, especially after the invitation to dance that preceded the song. Though Marcus had called more for a hoe-down than anything else, Webster Hall's huge disco ball was suddenly illuminated, sending rainbow-colored patches of light swirling around the room. The members from Middle East even came on stage and started dancing around and banging on drums.
For their two-song encore, Mumford & Sons played an enchanting acoustic performance of "Sisters," followed by the painfully earnest song "White Blank Page." More pictures from the show, and a picture of Mumford's setlist (which shows a 2nd encore), below...
The Middle East...
Mumford and Sons
Pictures and review from the Music Hall show that happened one night earlier, HERE. The Middle East also played a show at Mercury Lounge one night after the Webster Hall show (aka last night). Two video from that are HERE.