Mumford & Sons put on breath-taking performance

Harmony Kasper

Marcus Mumford sings to the crows while playing his acoustic guitar. He performed last Thursday at the First Niagra Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA.

Harmony Kasper, Side Notes
September 5, 2013

The First Niagara Pavilion was rocked on Thursday night by the ever popular growing folk band, Mumford & Sons.  You may think you haven’t heard of them, but there is no doubt you heard their hit single “I Will Wait” off their second album “Babel” on the radio.  Doubters who feel this specific type of music genre wouldn’t bring the crowds Toby Keith or Blake Shelton would, were shut down.  A packed pavilion of 23,000 fans who sang along with Marcus Mumford and “his sons” made it an incredible night.

This was the Englishmen’s first trip ever to the Pittsburgh area and they seemed pretty excited to be here.  The opening song was not a single off the second album, but “Lovers’ Eyes” setting the mood for the evening, starting slow and building up.    It began with no lights; none of the four men were visible from where my father and I were standing.  Then Marcus Mumford began with the poetic  lyrics that make this band so unique.  Slowly, more lights came on in the background and fans screamed.  Finally at a big part in the song, the whole stage lit up and the men jammed on their instruments while fans danced and sang along.  After reading other reviews of the concert that next morning, I realized none of them captured how involved and connected the fans were in this concert.  It sounded as if every person there knew every song they sang.  At times, the crowd was louder than Mumford & Sons.  As an avid concert goer myself, I have never seen anything like it before.

The band continued on a high note with the breakout song “Little Lion Man” off their first album “Sigh No More.”  The song has some of the harsher lyrics of any of their songs, but that didn’t stop the crowd from dancing around.  Slowing it down with “Whispers in the Dark” showed just how much these four men love their music.   Two more songs, “Below My Feet” and “Reminder” were played before their lead single “I Will Wait.”  As soon as the instruments began playing that familiar loud jam, the crowd went wild.  Marcus Mumford strummed his acoustic guitar with such power while Ben Lovett danced in place on the keyboard.  Winston Marshall on the banjo demonstrated his signature rocking motion that Jason Bateman mimics so well in the groups music video for “Hopeless Wanderer.”       Ted Dwane is so impressive on the standup bass, an instrument that not many popular bands today have.  Dwane underwent surgery back in June for a blood clot on his brain.  The band had to cancel shows across America so he could recover.  Luckily for fans, the standup bass’ recovery was quick and Mumford & Sons got to play at the enormous UK music festival Glastonbury at the end of July.

Mumford and the men continued with a song from their first album, “Thistle & Weeds”, which showed how this English folk band can also be hard rock.  The set list continued with four more songs, “Ghosts That We Knew”, “Hopeless Wanderer”, “Holland Road”, and “Awake My Soul” before hitting another hit off their “Sigh No More” album, “Roll Away Your Stone.”  Once again, the crowd was ignited at hearing one of their favorite songs.  Personally, this was the first song I heard from the band over two years ago that had me captivated by their unique sound and lyrics.  Finishing with “Lover of the Light, the second released single off “Babel”, the men thanked the crowd and left the stage.

Fans weren’t ready to let these four men travel to their next show in Troy, Ohio just yet.  Immediately sound erupted from underneath the pavilion as everyone drummed on the seats in front of them.  Soon enough Mumford & Sons emerged from stage right, but not alone.  Their two opening acts, Bear’s Den and The Vaccines, joined them for something they “have never tried before, it’s a Pittsburgh exclusive” said Marcus Mumford.  With all the men on stage being English, it was only fitting for them to “Come Together” for a song from the most famous band in the world.  The Beatles cover was so popular with the crowd; it was as if you were transported back in time to witness “Beatlemania”

Following this explosive performance were two more encore songs.  The title track off their second album, “Babel” again showed how much these men can rock, causing Mumford to break two strings on his guitar.

Finally, the band’s most popular song that everyone at First Niagara Pavilion could have guessed to be the final number came.  “The Cave” was the last chance for these men to give it their all and show what a great time they had in Burgettstown.  Thanking the crowd after every song they played and asking for everyone to stand and dance to their catchy tunes proved that Mumford & Sons know how to put on a concert not to be forgotte.

On the way home my father, who is as big of a fan, couldn’t stop saying how impressive they were and I’m sure everyone else was thinking the same.

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