Wednesday 19 August 2009

Mumford and Sons @ The Edge - Cabaret Voltaire Edinburgh 7 Aug 2009

Article originally published by, and property of The Daily Record:

Mumford & Sons
begin their The Edge festival set with all four members in front of the stage, singing a four part harmony over a repeating guitar and double bass riff on the song Sigh No More. As the song swells to a crescendo, more instruments are brought in; a warm piano-sounding Nord keyboard and an electric banjo. While the band lack a full-time drummer, lead singer Marcus Mumford has a small kick drum at his feet to keep time and add emphasis in the louder parts of their set, and at a few junctures either Marcus or one of his “Sons” will get behind the drum kit at the back of the stage (and of course there’s a microphone back there too, couldn’t do without those harmonies).

It makes sense that the London-based quartet have played support slots for the likes of Noah and the Whale and The Maccabees, as their acoustic-housed folk indie shares a lot of similarities with their city-mates. Their lyrics depict the wistful fantasy of the wind and the hills clashing with the reality of modern lifestyle. This seems to be mirrored in their music, as they occasionally bring in electric guitar or electric bass in an otherwise acoustic sounding set: at one point they even used a distortion pedal.

“Sorry for the self indulgent rock songs,” Mumford announces, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner. “One day we’re going to realise we’re not a rock and roll band and go back to playing folk songs”. Self-deprecating as this statement is, he has a point; although it’s not the one he thinks he’s making. While some of their songs draw an influence from 50s rockabilly, such as Roll Away Your Stone, the bands best “rock out” moments are when all four are head-banging to an instrumental section, led by a banjo riff and powered by the solitary kick drum.

The set closes with the surprisingly dark, piano led Dust Bowl Dance, a confessional cowboy song Johnny Cash would’ve been proud of. A truly dramatic climax, spoiled only a little by their awkward confusion afterwards about whether they should come back on for an encore. “I’d forgot what Scotland was like”, Mumford declares, as they have to turn the house music back off because the crowd won’t leave without one more tune.
Myke Hall

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