Friday, July 30, 2010

"One foot in sea, one on shore" - Mumford & Sons, Palace Theatre, 28/07/2010

Marcus Mumford and his three friends that make up the collective awesomeness that is Mumford & Sons were last in the country only in February, only playing the Laneway Festival and one sideshow in Sydney. But since then, their popularity has skyrocketed, with the delightfully obscene Little Lion Man topping Triple J's Hottest 100 poll for the year 2009, and follow-up singles The Cave and Winter Winds also doing quite well for the band. So it was really no surprise and there were certainly no complaints that the folk quartet made their way back Down Under so soon, this time fitting in many (sold-out) sideshows to cater for the massive demand, as well as an appearance at the mammoth Splendour in the Grass. With support from New York bluesy-rock quintet Alberta Cross and folky young Sydney upstarts Boy & Bear, it was looking to be a great night.

Melbourne public transport be damned! I arrived at the venue at about 7:55pm, and rushed down to the floor JUST in time to see Boy & Bear playing the opening chords of Blood to Gold from their With Emperor Antarctica EP. I saw this EP when I was just browsing the racks at my local CD shop about a month ago, and, remembering the name as the band that would be playing this very gig, I thought I might as well give it a go! And I must say, I've been really enjoying it and I was looking forward to their set at this gig. They didn't fail to deliver, playing four songs out of the five from that EP, as well as three awesome newies. Rabbit Song and Mexican Mavis are two songs that I think have been getting the most airplay, so they were quite well received by the crowd. These guys are definitely worth keeping an eye on in the future.
Blood to Gold
The Rain
Rabbit Song
Where the River Meets the Sea (new)
Mexican Mavis

Alberta Cross were also a band that I'd just discovered in recent times because of this gig, and I definitely have been enjoying their Broken Side of Time as of late. For some reason they didn't quite live up to my expectations live - the mixing was a little bit off and they sounded a bit too noisy in the spacious surrounds of the Palace. Still, it wasn't a bad set; most of the songs played were off the aforementioned album, and they did finish with my favourite song, ATX. I kind of wish I had've seen them at their own show at the Corner, but I didn't really have the cash. Still, I'm glad to have discovered this band and indeed, seen them live.
Song Three Blues
The Thief and the Heartbreaker
Ghost of City Life
Leave Us and Forgive Us
Taking Control
Rise From the Shadows

The main event couldn't come quick enough, and when the lights went down and the band made their way onstage, the crowd responded with immense enthusiasm. And this enthusiasm lasted the entire show - crowd singalongs and of course, ho-downs, became almost mandatory very quickly. The beauty of seeing a band live who's only released one album is that generally, they'll find time to play all of that album, and indeed this was the case. Also played were two new songs, which the crowd still enjoyed despite not being able to lend their voices to it! Of course, tracks like Little Lion Man and the finale The Cave were the best received, and the band were obviously enjoying playing them. Marcus Mumford seemed quite humbled by the crowd response, as evident in his between-song banter, thanking us all quite genuinely. All in all, it was a fantastic show from an extremely talented group of musicians.
Sigh No More
Awake My Soul
Winter Winds
Roll Away Your Stone
Nothing is Written (new)
I Gave You All
Little Lion Man
Lover of the Light (new)
Thistle & Weeds
White Blank Page
Dust Bowl Dance
After the Storm
The Cave
(this setlist is actually taken from the Adelaide show but it looks very similar, possibly the same, as the one they played in Melbourne)