Concert Reviews

Mumford and Sons with Raury at the Molson Amphitheatre

Photos by Dawn Hamilton

Mumford and Sons brought their Wilder Mind Tour to the shores of Lake Ontario. What unfolded Monday night at the Molson Amphitheatre was a celebration of American music delivered by a gang of Brits, a duo of Africans and a young American.

The show was a shining example of what a solid, kick-ass rock concert should be. It was also a study of what happens when an acclaimed folk-rock band chooses to look forward and backward at the same time.

Our first glimpse into the future took the form of show opener, Raury. At barely 20, the Atlanta native is all energy and optimism. Being an opening act for a big band is a tough gig – even tougher when you are a virtual unknown at the very start of your career. It was clear that Raury and his two man band were willing to work for it. He is full of positivity. His music is an eclectic mix of Rap, Hip-Hop and Rock. And while it all sounded good, he shone when he wove raps into his songs.

The sun sat low in the sky by the time Mumford and Sons walked on stage. They kicked off the night with Snakes Eyes from their latest release, Wilder Mind. Though focused on their newest record, the band did a good job building a set list that represented all three of their full-length studio albums and their most recent EP – Johannesburg.   They rolled through radio-friendly hits like Little Lion Man, Lover of the Light and Believe. Lead singer, Marcus Mumford delighted the masses in the cheap seats when, mid-song, he sprinted around the perimeter of the venue and waded into fray on the lawn.

The band’s sound is evolving. Though not far from its folky roots, Mumford and Sons is growing and learning and looking forward to newer sounds and influences. It’s this willingness to explore that keeps their sound fresh, and keeps winning them more fans with every new album.

Two thirds into the main set, special guest Baaba Maal joined the band. The Senegalese singer and his drummer collaborated on two songs, Si tu veux and There Will Be Time. Both tunes appear on the soon to be released EP Johannesburg, an ambitious record made in two days of intense collaboration in South Africa. The African sounds and rhythms mesh with Mumford’s sound in a surprisingly fitting way. This is a band pausing to reach back. Way back. Rock n’ Roll traces its roots back through the Blues and slave songs to Africa. And so it is not so incongruous for a folk-rock band to look deep inside and connect with these magical sounds.

This concert experience was also a feast for the eyes. The lighting design of this show was delicious – matching the flow of the show and the feel of the songs with visual joy. For folkier songs, the display was simple (or non-existent) but for the more high energy tunes the stage was a symphony of colour and movement.

The encore held a few more treats, including a version of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire. Before the penultimate song, Marcus Mumford said simply “One more for you, if you have it in you.” The whole audience sang along with I Will Wait and bounced with carefree abandon. But there was one last song to be sung and it a was perfect show-capper. Mustering energy from a well that should have long run dry, the band played their recent hit The Wolf. It doesn’t get better than that.


About author

From folk to pop to punk, Neloufer believes that music matters; that it is almost as vital as oxygen. She also has a deep love of language, et voilà! - music reviewer.