Music Reviews — 03 June 2015
Mumford & Sons Plug In at MCU Park

Mumford & Sons

A Concert Review
MCU Park, Brooklyn, NY
June 2nd, 2015

Concert Review: Mumford and Sons at MCU Park


The persistent downpour of rain coupled with temperatures cold enough for folks in the crowd to actually see their warm exhaled breath did little to temper fan enthusiasm for the world’s biggest folk rock band in their return to the New York area. Taking the stage at Coney Island’s MCU Park in the first of two headlining shows, London’s Mumford & Sons delivered a particularly inspired performance- with surprisingly few hiccups- despite their nearly eighteen month hiatus. Tuesday night’s performance would actually mark the kickoff to the band’s 2015 North American tour, in support of their newly released “Wilder Mind” album which dropped earlier this month. And happily, despite long-time fan skepticism about the folk band’s not-so-subtle departure from their acoustic roots, the plugged-in material from the new album seems to suit their stage show entirely well.

There’s little in the way of pomp and circumstance at a Mumford & Sons show, where the lights and the crowd are instead amplified by the band’s on-a-dime tempo changes and frontman Marcus Mumford‘s transition from the verse’s soothing vocalist to the chorus’ rocking music maestro. Though a sheet of fiery pyro would eventually pour down upon the band during “Dust Bowl Dance” to the crowd’s unbridled delight, it was business as usual for Mumford & Sons as they worked ten songs of their new material into a jam-packed two hour set. The result was admittedly a bit more mellow of a show than we’re used to seeing from the band, more likely a byproduct of the unseasonable weather rather than a knock of the group’s musical competency. But there were plenty of moments where the crowd was rallied to a literal frenzy and the combination of the dancing audience, now jumping wildly in place while soaked by falling rain, amid the performance of some of the band’s fast-paced hits like “I Will Wait” and “Lover of the Light,” proved to be particularly memorable.

The set ranged from slow and bluesy tracks like “Monster” to wholly appropriate ones like “Thistle and Weeds,” where lyrics like ‘rain down, rain down on me’ never felt more fitting. Guitarist Winston Marshall absolutely owned the spotlight during new track “Tompkins Square Park,” where his shredding guitar solo was among the evening’s most (no pun intended) electrifying highlights while the band’s frontman predictably sounded as vocally sound as ever especially during the catchy “Just Smoke.” To their credit, the collective band- equipped with a talented horns section- showed nary a bit of rust on stage as its members seamlessly alternated between different instruments with each subsequent song change.

Just minutes after setting the stadium ablaze in foot-stomping fashion with the aforementioned “Dust Bowl Dance,” the band returned for a two song encore to send both long time fans and casual listeners home happy. With the band’s first single that made them a known entity in the states followed by their latest single, “Little Lion Man” and “The Wolf” served to showcase just how far the band has come in the last six years. Their creative willingness to delve beyond any previous comfort levels should be lauded not criticized, for Mumford & Sons as a band, has shown tremendous resolve in their artistry by being unbound by the genre-specific restraints which some have placed upon them. While their new studio album may not necessarily be for everyone, the band’s live performance always speaks for itself- whether plugged into an amplifier or otherwise.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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