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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Music

Review: Mumford & Sons’ Houston concert


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Award-winning country and folk group Mumford & Sons performed Tuesday evening at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion to a crowd of nearly 20,000 fans. | Cara Smith/The Daily Cougar

Nearly 20,000 fans congregated with one of the world’s most talented and beloved quartets on Tuesday evening at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

At the stroke of nine, the pavilion went black, and Mumford & Sons teasingly played the instrumental introduction of “Lover’s Eyes” in the dark. When the lights came back on, the crowd was on their feet with arms raised, singing off-key at the top of their lungs.

After the Grammy Award-winning artists finished their first track, they immediately dove into the next one. Known for their refreshingly unique take on modern-day traditions, the four were all aligned equally on the stage. There was no frontman and no supporting cast — in their eyes, they were all equal members of a musical machine.

Marcus Mumford, the band’s lead vocalist, truly epitomized the concept of  “singing your heart out.” He bellowed the lyrics of the band’s hits, such as “I Will Wait” and “Little Lion Man,” with a raw, untainted sense of emotion. There was no discernible difference between his recorded and live vocals.

The band was especially grateful to be performing in Houston. Previously scheduled to perform in June, the band’s bassist, Ted Dwayne had to undergo emergency brain surgery and the concert was expectedly postponed. In a profound moment, Dwayne paused in between songs and thanked the crowd for bearing with him through his trials. He smiled at the roaring support of the entire amphitheater in reply.

The band spoke to the audience with humility one rarely sees in a group that’s experienced such a meteoric rise to fame.

Mumford & Sons has experienced a kind of success that’s rarely heard of nowadays.

The 2009 release of their first LP, Sigh No More, was projected to sell around 400,000 copies. In the U.S., Sigh No More went platinum … twice. In the U.K., the LP experienced 5X platinum success.

In 2012, the band’s sophomore effort, Babel, went on to win the Grammy Award for the year’s Best Album.

Mumford & Sons possessed an incredible energy on stage. The band’s pianist and vocalist, Ben Lovett, pounded on his keyboard as if it was reinforced with weapons-grade steel during the electrifying performance of “Below My Feet”. Alternating between a grand piano and an electronic keyboard, his entire body gyrated with the rhythm of the entire amphitheater.

During the band’s performance of one of the quartet’s darker songs, “Dust Bowl Dance,” Mumford shirked his acoustic guitar and took to the drums instead. It was an awe-inspiring performance, and the band’s emotion became a palpable object. Playing in front of a crimson red backdrop, electric banjo player Winston Marshall sprawled on the stage’s floor and gritted his teeth as he roared out the song’s climactic notes.

The band performed “Roll Away Your Stone” in a way that turned the Pavilion into an early 1900’s dance hall. Winston grinned, declaring to the masses that we weren’t encouraged to dance along with them, but required to.

“Hello, Houston! You guys love your Texas so much, don’t ya?” Mumford teased. “Well, good,” he added. “We’ve come to love it, too.”

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