April 15, 2016
A dim, LED flashlight broke the darkness in the distance and illuminated Mumford & Sons’ pathway to center stage. An aura of brief calmness pervaded Time Warner Cable Arena as the folk rock quartet burst into the spotlight, greeted by roars of ecstasy.
The English music icons ruffled some feathers 11 months ago with the release of their third studio album, Wilder Mind. The universal rustic folkies evolved into an indie rock band, setting aside their iconic banjos in favor of electric guitars, drums, lasers and leather jackets.
A pair of blue wings radiated over the foursome as vibrant red lasers pierced the darkness. Marcus Mumford crooned into his microphone as the sold out crowd rose to their feet and passionately sang along to “Snake Eyes.” The single off Wilder Mind flooded the arena with pleasure before Mumford & Sons grabbed their banjos to demonstrate the folk dominance that propelled the Brits from local pub favorites to global musical icons.
Mumford & Sons’ energy was alluring. Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall hammered their instrument strings while Ben Lovett displayed his elegance on the keyboard and accordion. A near decade of superstardom shone through with their faultless chemistry and stage presence.
Before surging back in the present with electricity from Wilder Mind, Marcus Mumford stepped to forefront and addressed the elephant in the room. While Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr cancelled their North Carolina performances in the wake of House Bill 2, Marcus confidently expressed that they didn’t share the same notion. Instead, Mumford & Sons proceeded with the highly anticipated concert and donated the show’s profits to a local LGBT organization.
Marcus’s message awakened a response of pure admiration which carried over into their performance of timeless classics, “Awake My Soul” and “The Cave.” Mumford & Sons’ mid-show display evoked an encore-worthy response from the audience.
Throughout, the Grammy Award-winning band seamlessly transitioned from banjo beating modern folk harmonies to strident, electric chart-topping alternative rock anthems including “Believe.” Marcus thrilled the crowd, not only while rocking out under a waterfall of burning orange fireworks, but also by promenading through the crowd during “Ditmas” and showing off his Charlotte Hornets knowledge with a suitable soliloquy.
Mumford & Sons exited the stage to thunderous cheers, only to undoubtedly re-emerge for an extended encore featuring the Wilder Mind closer “Hot Gates,” a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” “I Will Wait” and arguably their most popular track “The Wolf.”
It’s safe to say that the days of performing in overcrowded English pubs are behind Mumford & Sons; however, the Englishmen still emit a vibe of unmatched togetherness and intimacy, a distinctive quality that even the steadfast skeptic can’t deny.
Marcus Mumford on House Bill 2
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