Marcus Mumford showcased not only his vocal talent, but also his unwavering stamina.
Scottrade Center, St. Louis
I’m probably the last person in the world to discover Mumford and Sons. Besides their widely popular hit “Wait for You,” I can’t say I’ve ever heard any other song by them. Until right before the show, I didn’t even know they were British. So it goes without saying that Saturday night’s performance was, to me, a fresh look at what the band had to offer.
Opener Blake Mills made a strong impression right out of the gate. His bluesy sound, combined with heartfelt lyrics, set the bar high. His sounds were sultry and sexy at times, yet deep and meaningful. The audience, which was only at half-capacity at best, warmed up to him fast. Mills kept the audience mesmerized and engaged throughout his set. Those who arrived after his set missed what I believe to be a performance equally as impressive as the headliner. Included in his set list was a near-perfect rendition of “Sleep Walk,” originally written and performed by Santo & Johnny in the late ’50s. Overall, I was very impressed by his performance and have definitely become a fan.
After a short intermission, Mumford and Sons took to the stage to a now-almost-full house of dedicated fans screaming in anticipation. Lead singer Marcus Mumford proved to be a feisty character from the get-go. From the moment he stepped on stage, he demanded much of the crowd. He spouted a few expletives throughout his lyrics and banter, much to the amusement of the audience. Without previous knowledge of the music or the band it’s easy to see how the folksy, rock music, coupled with Mumford’s charismatic presence, draws in the fans.
In the middle of one song, Mumford took off like a jet through the crowd of screaming fans, dodging in and out of the narrow aisles of the arena with his security guard working hard to stay close behind him. Stunning the crowd, he ran from the stage, nearly halfway up the side of the arena seating area, straight across, and then back down. He dove straight into the general admission pit, where fans pawed at him for a split second as he flew past them and back to the stage. Throwing caution to the wind, Mumford showcased not only his vocal talent, but also his unwavering stamina, running the entire perimeter of the arena without taking anything away from his vocal delivery.
In a time of boy bands and faux artists, it’s now more important than ever artists not only have talent, but also the charismatic stage presence to grab and keep an audience’s attention. Mumford and Sons appear to have that down pat. With real, in-your-face lyrics that do anything but sugarcoat, and raw, unbridled performances, they repeatedly live up to the hype and continue drawing audiences back for more. | Jennifer Manjarez
Photo by Heather Pippin