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Mumford and Sons hit Columbus Ohio

Known for a unique folk rock style, English band Mumford and Sons lit up the “car park” (in the words of keyboardist Ben Lovett) at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion on Tuesday night. Nashville-based Apache Relay opened the show on the main stage, along with the LA-based rock band Dawes. Marcus Mumford joined Dawes for one song, giving the crowd a little teaser of what was to come later in the evening.

The set-up at the LC was different from their usual venue, with the stage near the back of the parking lot, making room for about 12,000 fans. Luckily for those tall enough to see them, there were two viewing screens turned on for Mumford and Sons, one to the side of the stage, and another behind the sound booth, for fans who couldn’t squeeze their way to the pit. It was very difficult to see the actual stage if you weren’t standing right in front of it, due to a dip in the parking lot, and that is my only complaint, because the LC event staff did a great job making sure everything ran smoothly for the fans.

Photo by Sam Fahmi

The stage was outfitted with dozens of lights, which were used for a choreographed light show, strands of lights extending out into the parking lot, and a huge banner, which later revealed a lighted background showing the band’s tour logo.

Mumford and Sons started their show with a song from their upcoming album (Babel, which comes out September 25, 2012), “Lover’s Eyes”. They really kicked things off after this with “Little Lion Man” (The strung lights extending from the stage were based on the video for this song), and their latest release, the banjo-driven “I Will Wait” (also from Babel). The band plays with fierce passion, to match the intensity of Marcus Mumford’s gravely lead vocals.

Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo) knew how to really get the Columbus crowd going with an O-H. He had a bet with frontman Marcus that he could get us to yell back ten times in a row, but he ran out of time before they had to move on to the next song. Marcus placated the crowd by saying how gratifying it was to get an enthusiastic response whenever he said O-H. Later in the show, Winston managed to get the 10 O-H’s in and win his £1 bet with Marcus.

The show continued with a mixture of old songs from Sigh No More and new Babel, giving the fans a good taste of what is coming in the near future. The new songs aren’t straying far from the sounds and spiritual, enigmatic lyrics we’ve become accustomed to hearing from M&S, but there are some variations in style. “Lover of the Light” had a more rock, less folk sound, with some great piano and picking and “Ghosts That We Knew” has a beautifully mournful sound. “Below My Feet” serves up some excellent harmonies and a driving beat.

Dawes returned to the stage to assist on “Awake My Soul”, pushing the energy level on the stage to new heights, which is hardly possible to imagine. Even after Dawes left the stage again, the band kept that energy going with “Whispers in the Dark”, a new song that starts out soft and builds up, just what you’d expect from Mumford and Sons. After a spirited interlude, they went into the sinister “Dust Bowl Dance”, with Marcus at the full drum set for the second time.

When it came time for the encore, the band sang “Where Are You Now”, a “quiet” heartbreak song, featuring the guitar and chilling harmonies. After introducing their back-up band members, they rounded off the show with “Winter Winds” and “The Cave”.

Mumford and Sons knows how to work a crowd, and their live show beats any of their recordings. They’ve promised a return to Columbus, and after a sold-out show that left us all begging for more, I can only hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Abby Fahmi

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