Sigh No More
Ian Church is impressed by Mumford and their assortment of Sons…
I was drawn towards the Newcastle Students Union to see what all the fuss was about.
With their infectious ukulele and acoustic guitar driven songs it is no surprise Mumford and Sons have become successful not just in the UK, but across the world. It is for this reason I was drawn towards the Newcastle Students Union to see what all the fuss was about.
Refreshingly in Fanfarlo, there was a support act which actually reflected the musical genre of the main band. So many times I have seen performances spoiled by a seemingly completely irrelevant support act; Lethal Bizzle supporting The Wombats a few years ago is a good example.
The unusual, yet successful usage of both string and brass worked to good effect with Fanfarlo arguably being the better known of the two bands if the gig had taken place only a few months ago, although Mumford and Sons seemed to recognise this and were thankful for Fanfarlo’s willingness to support them.
It was also apt that the gig was on a Sunday evening, as their chilled out songs aren’t the kind to particularly dance to.
Mumford and Sons opened with ‘Sigh No More’ their debut single and the name of their first album, released in October of last year. With the clever use of a variety of instruments, including a cello, ukulele, bass and acoustic guitar, keyboard, trumpet and trombone there was pretty much an entire orchestra on stage most of the time, with each band member capable of playing at least two of the aforementioned instruments. It was also apt that the gig was on a Sunday evening, as their chilled out songs aren’t the kind to particularly dance to.
‘Winter Winds’ then followed, accompanied by the first interaction with the crowd from lead vocalist Marcus Mumford, who made a comment about Newcastle FC being promoted this year, only to probably regret it when he realised few of the audience were actually fans of the magpies.
Indeed one band member was credited with having ‘good chat’ and there was talk of ‘respect’
Like most other bands with only one recorded album Mumford and Sons had little choice but to play every track from it, which is not necessary a bad thing, but it does bring an air of predictability to the performance.
Mumford continued his good natured interaction with the crowd throughout, admitting that they were a little nervous about a performance in front of what was for them a large audience. I got the impression all the band would have quite happily stayed until the following morning, not necessarily playing, but just interacting with the audience, with Mumford himself claiming that they missed the intimacy of the gigs at smaller venues that they once toured. Indeed one band member was credited with having ‘good chat’ and there was talk of ‘respect’ which was amusing largely because of the bands distinctly middle class upbringing, but I got the impression they were aware of this.
The set ended with ‘The Cave’ the newest single off their album, which was the best received track of the night, and was met with a mixture of hand waving and swaying involved in equal measure. The encore then followed, surprisingly including an older song and a new one, neither of which anyone in the audience seemed familiar with. This was a little disappointing as the gig ended on a bit of low point, as surely it they should have kept ‘The Cave’ or ‘Little Lion Man’ to finish with? Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed the indie folk rhythms of Mumford and Sons, and no one else seemed to be complaining either.