Blog Archives

Mumford & Sons

9/29/16
Englewood, CO
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
Map of Colorado, USA
3.5 Stars
In transition, happily. This show marked the second time Aida and I have seen the expanded, electrified Mumford & Sons touring lineup and it’s growing on me. The folk-steeped acoustic qualities that drew us to the band in the first place are still there, but now they’ve expanded their bag of tricks for getting a crowd to dance; now it includes more than just foot-stomping and fast-strumming. The new bombast a drummer and some electric gear bring makes their live show, simply, more interesting to watch, and I love it. I hear more texture in the songs. I see a renewed energy in the faces of the players. And, no matter whether the guitars are plugged in or acoustic, the most profound instrument remains Marcus’ charm: with one off-the-cuff joke he wins over everyone from the front row to the cheap seats. The band and crew — from the fiddle player and the horn section, to the amazing light rig in a constant state of transformation — was in top form. Bonus points to the boys for delivering one our favorite new songs, “Monster,” and for the acoustic micro-set where they sang old-timey harmonies around a single microphone; demerits to the douchebags sitting behind us that wouldn’t stop talking during any of it. Setlist

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Carnival time Gentlemen Of The Road

Mumford & Sons

The Flaming Lips

Tune-Yards

Jenny Lewis

James Vincent McMorrow

The Vaccines

8/21/15
Salida, CO
Vandaveer Ranch
Map of Colorado, USA
3.5 Stars
Celebration and community. Mumford & Sons are a favorite of my family — Aida’s a super-fan and my kids know all the words to the songs — so the announcement of this weekend-long festival brought a great opportunity for the lot of us to experience a concert together in a unique setting. Salida, Colorado, the host for this “stopover” (as the promoters called it), is a small but vibrant mountain town, and there couldn’t have been a better place to stage it. Local organizers and business owners gave us fans a warm welcome, presenting side venues, local food and beer, and family-friendly activities wherever you turned. The good vibes fueling the on-site camping grounds bled into the festival area, and embraced attendees like an old friend. The headlining band curated the lineup themselves: young up-starts like The Vaccines played alongside festival stalwarts The Flaming Lips and brothers-in-arms Dawes. Highlights for me were quirky sets by James Vincent McMorrow (that voice!) and Tune-Yards; Colorado’s governor introducing costume-clad Lips in front of a 3-story tall inflatable banner reading FUCK YEAH SALIDA; and Mumford & Sons delivering the electricity from <em>Wilder Mind</em> and with it laying waste to the hot and dusty main stage area. But the best part was the sincerity with which every musician interrupted their sets to acknowledge their hosts — Salida and Mumford & Sons — with huge smiles and full hearts. If the goal of a music festival is to spread art and fellowship to fans of both, then this one was a success, and one I was happy to expose to my kids. Setlist

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Carnival time Lollapalooza 2013

Vampire Weekend

The Killers

Mumford & Sons

Jake Bugg

Family Of The Year

Local Natives

The Lumineers

Two Door Cinema Club

New Order

Knife Party

8/2/13
Chicago, IL
Grant Park
Map of Illinois, USA
4.0 Stars
festival-crazy chicagoans. My experience with festivals before attending Lollapalooza in Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park was limited to smaller regional stuff. This was my first big fest. The number of stages was a bit overwhelming but it offered an extraordinary range of experiences: from a little set in a cozy grove of trees to a massive, straw-covered meadow with no shade in sight; from a tiny stage set for a few scruffy rockers to a 100 foot-high DJ booth and light show. The lineup was plenty diverse, too, even if the constituency wasn’t (too many over-privileged college kids with painfully hip wardrobes). Aida and I caught huge sets from The Killers, Vampire Weekend and Mumford &Sons, and smaller ones from Ellie Goulding, Jake Bugg and Family Of The Year. We even caught an incredibly intimate set from the latter in a corner of the festival shop; we were 5 feet from the band and had a great chat afterward. And I managed to get a taste of some EDM from Knife Party, reminding me that I’m too old for this shit but still down for anything when it comes to live music. I’m not sure I need to do another big fest any time soon — too much strategizing and angling for space to be able to see your favorite artists — but the enthusiastic and welcoming local contingent (and their impressive skyline) made it worth the effort. Setlist

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Mumford & Sons

8/29/12
Morrison, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Map of Colorado, USA
4.5 Stars
Stone cold classic. This was one of two shows recorded for the band’s *Road To Red Rocks* film so there was no standing around. These guys absolutely punished their instruments, their voices, their audience. They brought it as though they had everything to prove. It was a magical night: warm, clear, everyone present and happy, the boys chatty and silly. Babel was getting a ton of radio play at the time of this show so even casual fans in attendance knew every word to every song and were singing along like lunatics. Openers Dawes beefed up a couple of tunes, not that extra muscle was really needed. This gig, this tour, this album was a game changer for this band, and it was a great treat to be there to witness it all go down. Setlist

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Mumford & Sons

6/15/11
Denver, CO
Fillmore Auditorium
Map of Colorado, USA
4 Stars
Made a fan. By the time these guys played the tiny Fillmore Auditorium they were quickly becoming Aida’s favorite new band. “Sigh No More” was in constant rotation in the house and in the car so we were looking forward to this one. The night began with an amazing opening set from local act Nathaniel Rateliff (pre-“Night Sweats”). From there things got crazy good: the headliners artfully blended gently-strummed poems, foot-stomping rockers and psychedelic freak-outs, often in the same song and always with nothing more than acoustic instruments. The group’s recorded output had already sold us on their folky approach to Americana music (this show was before “The Mumford Sound” took over popular music based in radio hits); this live show just cemented their status as a band for us to watch. It was the beginning of Mumford & Sons becoming an obsession in our family. Setlist

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Another Top 5 List Top Opening Acts

  1. Nathaniel Rateliff (pictured) supporting Mumford & Sons | 6/15/11 | Denver, CO | Fillmore Auditorium | Blew me away.
  2. Kasabian supporting Oasis | 9/20/05 | Morrison, CO | Red Rocks Amphitheater | Brit rabble-rousers.
  3. In The Whale supporting Jane’s Addiction | 11/19/14 | Denver, CO | Ogden Theater | Holy shit, what?
  4. LCD Soundsystem supporting Arcade Fire | 9/17/07 | Morrison, CO | Red Rocks Amphitheater | Upbeat and LOUD.
  5. Papa Grows Funk supporting Galactic | 8/26/06 | Boulder, CO | Fox Theater | NOLA-style funk.

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