Mumford And Sons

with Alberta Cross

Mumford and Sons have had a whirlwind of success following their debut album, Sigh No More. Forming in late 2007, the band has skyrocketed to the top of the Australian music scene and are set to play at the 2010 Splendour in the Grass festival. But before Mumford and Sons make the trip up the coast, the boys played a sold out show at Melbourne's Palace theatre. After watching the band play live, I can completely understand how Mumford and Sons are so popular.


Supporting our headline act were New York boys, Alberta Cross. This five piece indie rock group sounded larger than life, with long solos and loud verses. The crowd watching Alberta Cross was the largest I have ever seen for a supporting act. During their set, The Palace was almost full and every head was looking towards the stage. As far as supporting acts go Alberta Cross performed fantastically. They drew everyone into the music and built up the energy of the venue.


As the time for Mumford and Sons drew closer, The Palace was at bursting point. I retreated to the second level to get a vantage point and what I saw was madness. There was a sea of people, shoulder to shoulder on the ground level. On the two balconies overlooking the venue, music lovers where piled along the rails to get a good view.


Mumford and Sons seem to have touched a wide range of people. The crowd was full of music lovers from all ages (well really between 18 to 50). I liked the demographic; I'm used to seeing a live act with the same stock standard crowd.


As the lights dimmed, the crowd erupted into cheers and whistles. It wasn't until the band came out and began playing a slow melodic intro that the audience settled down.


The atmosphere during the show was electric; you couldn't watch their set without at least tapping your feet. The music was infectious, up-beat and fun. The banter with the crowd worked great between songs.


Through their music and banter, Mumford and Sons came across as very humble people. The boys seemed like genuine individuals who just wanted to entertain and promote happiness. The show didn't have a serious vibe; it was just a party onstage.


This band is extremely talented. Lead vocals, Marcus Mumford, at one point juggled vocals and drums, with intense solos. I found his ability to multi-task difficult roles entertaining.


One of the big moments during their show happened at the halfway point. The band decided to play a song they had been working on. Marcus told the crowd the band had only played the song through once and they didn't even have a name for the track; but he hoped it will be on the new album. Even if this moment was all part of the show, it still worked and gave the performance an enjoyable twist. For people who may be interested in knowing what the track sounded like I will say it was like sweet melody, married with charming vocals and driving instrumental work.


Big hits of the night included Little Lion Man, The Cave, Winter Winds and Dust Bowl Dance. All these songs threw the crowd into a frenzy of sing-a-longs, foot stamping and clapping.


One element of the show I can't go past is that Mumford and Sons sounded just as good recorded as they do live. The wide variety of instruments including the use of a trumpet, banjo, violin, cello, mandolin and guitars gave their music a full and deep sound. Watching and listening to seven people playing different instruments together gave me chills; what more can I say, I was smitten.


The set was intelligently structured with a perfect balance of peaceful and loud music. Finishing their performance with an encore featuring The Cave ended the night in style.


It seemed watching Mumford and Sons was less about getting wasted and being obnoxious, but more about paying respect to the band and enjoying their music.


Overall their performance was great fun. The band played with heart and a smile. I don't think you could have left without feeling high spirited.

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