The huge Hallenstadion (capacity 13’000 people) is pretty crowded, standing tickets are sold out whereas there are still a few free seated spots. The stage hides Mumford & Sons’ instruments behind a huge black sheet with the Gentlemen of the Road symbol, the label to which Mumford & Sons are signed and which organizes the stopovers around the world.
I have to prevent you perhaps, I’ve been waiting to see Mumford & Sons for quite many years, which makes it difficult to hold the excitement… There is always something special when you see a band you like for the first time and I can tell you from the start that it was definitely worth the wait!
8pm-8.40pm Bill Ryder Jones
English singer Bill Ryder Jones is accompanied by his band. They play a sort of classic British rock, reminding of bands like The Stone Roses. Different style than Mumford & Sons to which they do not resemble much. The classic rock is mostly heard in the guitar riffs there are very melodic and the singer’s voice makes its way around it finding the right spot.
Their style also recalls to mind Pete Doherty‘s solo songs. The singer whistles when he hears people in the public whistling. And with his thick and cute northern accent he thanks the audience. Great sound but the band didn’t seem to feel too comfortable on the stage of the Hallenstadion. Was it perhaps too big? The last song they play is “Satellite” which has a nice touch of psychedelic rock in it!
9:15pm-11pm Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons released their third album Wilder Mind (2015) little over a year ago, an album which bids goodbye to one of their main folk marks: the beloved banjo; and which welcomes electric guitars to make everything more rock. An album which divided fans, some like it some don’t but that allowed them to extend their public to some more rock lovers. Wilder Mind is certainly different than Sigh No More (2009) and Babel (2012) both marked by their indie-folk sound, but there is some great material in it and its live quality is remarkable.
They enter the stage and before playing singer Marcus Mumford says “hello” to the crowd. Mumford & Sons open their gig at Hallenstadion with “Snake Eyes” a song taken from their new album. A perfect rock start to the gig, starting slowly at first and then bursting out in a mix of riffs and drums beats. Marcus Mumford’s voice is ever enchanting and amazing. They play their most well-known song “Little Lion Man” just after, going back to their roots and to their folk sound, with the audience singing along and dancing.
They play some more songs taken from Wilder Mind with the great electric guitars sounds reminding of Kings of Leon’s style without the southern vibe though. They then go on to play some songs taken from their second record Babel (2012) like the touching “Lover Of The Light” where Marcus Mumford plays the drums. The four lads of Mumford & Sons are also accompanied on tour by some other musicians playing: the fiddle, a trumpet and a trombone and a piano played by Ben Lovett. It makes everything more musically colourful and diverse.
It’s Ted Dwane’s birthday, so Marcus Mumford makes the audience sing a “Happy Birthday” song first in English then in German. The audience is not very intonated I must admit the lads are right when they say that, but lots of good fun.
They play their new song “Ditmas”, during which Marcus Mumford gets off the stage and says hello to the audience in front while singing and heads towards the seats on the right side of the stage. He then joins the standing audience and sings from the middle of the crowd, a proof of his bravery and coolness!
“Dust Bowl Dance” is up next with its powerful instrumental bits leaving the audience to get crazy. After this song Mumford & Sons leave the stage and reappear a few minutes later on the smaller stage in the middle of the venue, from there they play two magnificent acoustic versions of “Timshel” and “Cold Arms” all around one microphone. An intimate moment for which the singer asks the audience to be silent. There’s not a fly flying except for some scattered screams of excited fans.
They leave and come back for an encore, this time on the big stage. They play “Sigh No More” taken from their eponymous first album, live it sounds mighty with the beautiful choruses and vocals made by the other band members. They then play the unmissable “I Will Wait” from their second album and everybody jumps and sings with power to its happy folky sounds. They end with “The Wolf”, a lively single taken from Wilder Minds, bits of fire coming down the ceiling of the stage towards the end of the song and the lads bid goodbye.
But it’s not over yet, the lights remain off and Mumford & Sons come back to play a last song “Forever”, a completely new one that Marcus Mumford claims the audience will be able to sing along by the end of it. This time they bid goodbye for good, unfortunately.
An amazing end to a concert which was well worth the wait, a gig filled with happiness despite the great majority of the songs are rather sad. These brilliant and friendly lads managed to create an amazing atmosphere 🙂 If you missed this (and if you didn’t) you can still catch them at Open Air St Gallen on Sunday 3rd of July 2016, no excuses because it is the only day of the festival for which tickets are still available!
Little Lion Man
Tompkins Square Park
Lover of the Light
Ghosts That We Knew
White Blank Page
Dust Bowl Dance
Timshel (B Stage, acoustic)
Cold Arms (B Stage, acoustic)
Hot Gates (encore)
Sigh No More (encore)
I Will Wait (encore)
The Wolf (encore)