Live: Mumford & Sons, Raspily Emoting At Bowery Ballroom


Mumford & Sons
Bowery Ballroom
Thursday, February 18

“You can’t clap for shit, man,” notes Marcus Mumford with a grin, and verily are the Bowery Ballroom faithful’s attempts at audience participation fairly disastrous — no rhythm, no timing, no hope. In truth our enthusiasm almost completely derails another of Mumford & Sons’ (by available visual evidence this quartet’s name is a joke) robust Brit power-folk anthems, but Marcus’ forceful bellow cuts expertly through the clatter. Dude is raspy. “I’m sorrrrrrrry,” he intones, like a chainsaw cutting a bus in half. He must be talking to his lungs.

M&S are sweet, rousing, and profoundly earnest –“And my head told my heart/’Let love grow’/But my heart told my head/’This time, no.'” Like the Frames, Glen Hansard’s non-Oscar-winning gig, with less arty bullshit. Tunes like “The Cave” and “Little Lion Man” (Marcus really leans into “I really fucked it up this time”) are football-lad fist-pumpers despite being goosed by banjo, upright bass, gentle harmonies, etc. Consider them a Fleet Foxes your mom couldn’t beat up. (And not just football lads, apparently — Marcus congratulates us on nabbing Tracy McGrady, which has to be the first time a British dude has attempted onstage NBA talk.) They play the vast majority of excellent, just-released debut Sigh No More, including the “Tell me now where was my fault/In loving you with my whole heart” one. “Sometimes I get sweat in my eyes and it looks like I’m crying,” Marcus notes, unconvincingly. Maybe your mom could beat them up.

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