Mumford & Sons – MSR Studios – February 16 (with WFUV)
About a hundred people were gathered together for an exclusive show featuring British folk-rock four-piece, Mumford & Sons. The show, which was put on by WFUV, took place in MSR Studios. It was not much to look at on the outside – just a small, washed out awning with the word ‘Legacy’ marked the spot. But the exposed brick inside was gorgeous, and the wood paneled walls elicited a pleasant cabin smell. I’m hard-pressed to think of a location more suited to a live performance than a recording studio. Even the applause somehow sounded better. Fitting for the intimate location, many people were sitting Indian-style on large, Persian-style rugs.
With an effusive introduction by WFUV’s Rita Houston, the band got started. Mumford & Sons is exactly the kind of band you might expect to play for a public radio-sponsored show, but for good reason. They’re a young group that plays more traditional instruments like the upright bass and the banjo. They’re not too offensive, but they aren’t entirely safe either (their hit song drops the F-bomb).
Take a look at and listen to “Little Lion Man” from Sigh No More:
Mumford & Sons mostly fall into the folk category, but this is not your father’s folk music. Frontman Marcus Mumford’s vocals are undeniably earnest, and the group isn’t afraid to get a little rowdy. Even the slower songs exude a quiet desperation and prompt Marcus to pull out a wad of white paper towels to wipe his brow. With a high dose of both beauty and anguish, “White Blank Page” in particular sounds like it could have been a Glen Hansard song.
Mumford & Sons may not be a household name stateside just yet, but things sure seem to be picking up quickly. Knowing that both their show at the Bowery Ballroom on Thursday and nearly all of their upcoming European dates are sold out, seeing them in such an intimate space was a treat. Last night’s show celebrated the American release of their debut album Sigh No More.