Mumford and Sons at The O2 Arena
Can a banjo, an accordion, a string bass and a mandolin make good rock music? Yes, they can. Mumford & Sons, after releasing their debut album Sigh No More to critical acclaim in 2009, returned to their roots earlier this year to work on their second album Babel.
The O2 Arena was full of people eagerly awaiting the performance and they were not disappointed as, throughout the concert, everyone was full of energy: singing along, clapping their hands and even jumping up and down to every song.
The indie-folk quartet, at times accompanied by other musicians, played for two hours, only stopping after every track to allow for a change of instruments, with their aim to alternate mellow tunes with more upbeat ones.
Though unnecessary, since the group’s vocal and musical abilities were enough to justify the success of the gig, the set gave it an added value. The lights in particular created diverse atmospheres, which characterised each song according to the feel they wanted to suggest: beams blinking in rhythm with the more fast-paced songs, as in I Will Wait, or small bulbs twinkling like stars in the sky (literally hanging from the ceiling) during quieter songs like Lover Of The Light (the title says it all!), blood-red soaking the stage during Thistle & Weeds to create an eerie mood. What’s more, the screens above the stage enabled even those spectators at the back of the room to see every expression and emotion on the musicians’ faces as they broadcasted black and white close-ups of each of them.
Mumford & Sons sang and played their many instruments with a passion that showed how much fun they were having on stage: even the keyboardist Ben Lovett danced around frenetically to Roll Away Your Stone, which caused the Arena to explode and there was not a single soul who wasn’t moving with him.
The crowd were as one for Little Lion Man and Dust Bowl Dance featured an electric guitar that, if possible, further energised the performance. The final trick up the band’s sleeve was the famous The Cave; everyone sang the lyrics aloud, giving the song an anthemic quality.
There were more tranquil moments, such as in the first encore when the band moved onto a smaller stage right among their dedicated audience. The a cappella versions of Reminder and Sister were very emotional and intimate.
The gig was confirmation, if needed, that Mumford & Sons, with their catchy, yet meaningful tunes, are here to stay.
Photo: April Guthrie
For further information and future events visit Mumford and Sons’ website here.
Watch the video for I Will Wait here: