On Saturday 22nd September it was announced that Mumford & Sons would be playing at London’s leading independent record store Rough Trade East. This was to coincide with the release of the sophomore album Babel. You could get wristbands by purchasing the album until they ran out. With Mumford being a massive band I fully expected all the wristbands to get snapped up when the store opened Monday morning. So I did the next best thing and pre ordered and requested one off the internet. This made up for the fact that I didn’t win a ticket for Lana Del Rey who was performing as part of the iTunes festival.
Fast forward to the day of the event. I decided to arrive at 10am as they were billed at playing at 3pm. All the wristbands were all snapped up the day before and that didn’t surprise me in the slightest. I may of slightly misjudged when to arrive but you cant really take chances when you have a big band play in an intimate setting. The queue was massive by the time the doors to the shop opened. Doors opened an hour later and this was down to the fact they had performed at Radio 1 in the morning. Still the time the doors opened I made my way up to the front and it rapidly started to fill up. In front of me were speakers and an iPad which displayed the lyrics to each song which was performed.
“Just me today. Hope you like bass” “Country” Winston Marshall joked to the audience when he took to the stage. The rest of the band then made their entrance onto the tiny stage. “East London. Where the fuck are we? We’re Mumford & Sons. Just” Marcus Mumford said before they launched into Roll Away Your Stone taken from debut album Sigh No More. At first there was a medieval theme to it and when the rest of the band came in the audience went wild. This was a fast paced folk song which sounded incredible live. There was a huskiness with Marcus’s vocals plus it felt as if it was a hoedown. “Thank you very much for ditching work for an hour or so. We haven’t been in Rough Trade playing for quite a while. So this is quite special for us” Ben then mentioned to the audience before they got stuck into yet another song from Sigh No More and this being The Cave. This has to be one of my highlights from Sigh No More and just hearing this song sung impeccably live was quite something. The Cave was delivered strongly and had lyrics which many fans sang along to. “There is method in our madness because our album came out yesterday. We played the iTunes festival at the Roundhouse last night. Which was great. I think this is more fun. We played this song live for the first time last night and we’re going to play it again” Marcus said after a lengthy tune up and some chat by Winston and Ted about what you could buy in Rough Trade. It was then onto a taster from the sophomore album Babel and this being Not With Haste. This was a luscious song with lyrics that were delivered gently. Not With Haste was a beautiful song with some superb harmonising. Ghosts That We Knew was the next to be played and this was a spine tingling tune and Marcus Mumford’s vocals shone through. It’s lyrics were delivered at a slow soft pace and there were people around me who were singing along. Ghosts which it was also known as was delivered strongly. “We do love this place a lot. We’ve been here before and it’s really fun. So thank you so much Rough Trade for having us again. Thank you very much for coming. This is our last song. I’m really glad you all came, I’m really glad we came and we’ll see you again” Marcus said before plenty of people groaned with dissapointment because the set was coming to an end. The song which they ended with was the latest single I Will Wait. I must admit for me this has to be the show piece of Babel. It is a Country/ Folk song which was delivered at a barnstorming pace. At the same time the vocal performance was powerful and it is also very contagious and breezy.
Roll Away Your Stone
Not With Haste
Ghosts That We Knew
I Will Wait
OVERALL: Mumford are a spectacular band and I feel truly honoured having seen them perform in such intimate surroundings. The last time I saw the band in a record store was at Puregroove back in 2009. Still the new songs performed were complete perfection.