Headliner: Mumford & Sons
Date: Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Location: Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA
Opening Acts: Matthew & the Atlas, The Low Anthem
After striking out at two pre-sales and barely getting tickets before they sold out two months ago, to say I was ready for the Mumford & Sons show to finally happen is an understatement. Having never been to Fox Theatre for a concert, I wasn’t sure how a show would play out with seats and being under a balcony. Our seats were in the last row on the orchestra level and by the end of the show I was convinced the sound was better at Fox Theatre than any other venue in Atlanta.
We arrived as the Low Anthem set was already in progress and took a quick look around the historic venue. Much like Fox Theatre in Detroit, its pretty amazing how such an old setting can stay so clean. Even the knobs on the bathroom sinks still look like they are straight out of the 1950’s. We only caught a few song by The Low Anthem, but their brand of indie folk impressed me enough that have been looking for more since. The most interesting part of their set though was before the last song, when lead singer Ben Knox Miller asked the crowd to take their cell phone out and call their neighbor. The request seemed like a joke at first, but the action ended up turning cell phone disturbance into a distortion like instrument. See, anyone can play music!
The stage lighting seemed fitting with upside down banjos that doubled as old school flash bulbs while string lighting went from stage to balcony. Almost as if the band was trying to balance back country feel with bright light aspirations they are cleary headed towards. Around 9:45pm, Mumford and Sons graced the Fox Theatre stage to a raucous welcome. The guys quickly got down to business with a spirited rendition of the title track from Sigh No More. Clearly still coming off a high from the band’s highly touted Bonnaroo set, Mumford & Sons appeared to pour every ounce of energy they had into their set.
While grateful for their growing status as one of the top rising bands in any genre, the guys very much wanted the show to be an intimate performance. Well, as intimate as an 8,000 seat auditorium can be. The band suggested the audience to introduce themselves to their neighbors before a stomping folk rock delivery of “Roll Away Your Stone.” Throughout the night, members switched instruments fluidly and often. It seemed like almost everyone took a turn at the drum set. On many occasions an impressive three piece horn section and fiddler joined the fun and brought to life highlights such as “Winter Winds” and of course, “Little Lion Man.”
Somehow, the lads managed to get nearly everyone in the Theatre to subdue their excitement to near silence for stripped down performances of “Timshel” and “Sister”. The chick who yelled “Shut the f*** up or I’ll punch you in the face” did get a rise out of the audience and band though. Nice touch. The songs “without technology” went off without a hitch as Marcus Mumford led the quartet in chilling, harmonized fashion.
As for new tracks, each new song the band offered was received with open arms and enchanted fans of Sigh No More. Later, the band performed an unfinished new track tentatively called “Lover I’l Be Home” which they set up by “including” the crowd in the process of writing. If the massive sing-a-long that ensued during the chorus (“spin me round just to pin me down on the cover of this strange bed”) is any indication, I would say they have their next hit on their hands.
Mumford & Sons said they would be back in the studio after the tour and hope to have the new album out by year’s end. As expected, “The Cave” closed out the encore to a roaring and clapping ovation. Marcus ensured the audience, they would be back to Atlanta soon. Everyone who attended Sunday’s show should remember this visit for as long as they can because this will likely be the smallest venue Mumford & Sons play in the near future. Fox Theatre was a grand venue for such a spectacle in a band that isn’t even close to their ceiling yet.
1. Sigh No More
2. Roll Away Your Stone
3. Winter Winds
4. Below My Feet (new song)
5. White Blank Page
7. Sister (new song)
8. Little Lion Man
9. Lover Of The Light (new song)
10. Thistle & Weeds
11. After The Storm
12. Lover’s Eyes (new song)
13. Awake My Soul
14. Dust Bowl Dance
15. Lover I’ll Be Home (new song)
16. The Cave