Mumford & Sons At Molson Amphitheatre

  • Mumford & Sons perform at Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto
    Photo: The Recording Academy

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By Nick Krewen

Inspired British folkies Mumford & Sons rocked the Molson Amphitheatre crowd on Aug. 26 with the classic "You Shook Me All Night Long."

Wait … what?

True, that hit belongs to legendary Australian rockers AC/DC, and Mumford fans scouring the quartet's two studio albums Sigh No More and the GRAMMY Album Of The Year-winning Babel won't find the track anywhere there, either.

But it was near the end of the set, and bandleader Marcus Mumford, feeling equally relaxed and punchy, invited a fan from the Toronto audience to sing the song while he bashed along on the drums.

In fact, the AC/DC salute was one of the few times during the show that the drum kit was even utilized, as most of the rhythms for a majority of the songs were handled by Mumford via a bass drum that he worked with his right foot as he sang and strummed the guitar.

The prominent thump powered such crowd pleasers as "Little Lion Man" and "I Will Wait," which were especially appreciated when the tandem of Mumford, keyboard player Ben Lovett, banjoist/guitarist Winston Marshall, and bassist Ted Dwane (back in the Mumford fold since recovering from a blood clot on his brain in July) reached full flight, their epic harmonies filling the overcast, but humid, summer night.

The group had plenty of other "sons" helping them out, including a three-piece horn section and a two-piece string section, who added, subtracted or completely vanished as the song selection dictated.

One of the more impressive aspects of their predominantly acoustic-driven performance was the respect they accorded dynamics: the softs were extremely soft, and helped build the musical tension to proportions of volcanic eruption when they finally let loose.

The other "detour" — a tender rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire," with Mumford & Sons surrounding a single microphone — revealed the range of a group whose talents are just beginning to hit their peak.

Set List:

"Lovers' Eyes"
"Little Lion Man"
"Whispers In The Dark"
"I Gave You All"
"Below My Feet"
"Holland Road"
"I Will Wait"
"Lover Of The Light"
"Thistle & Weeds"
"Ghosts That We Knew"
"Hopeless Wanderer"
"Roll Away Your Stone"
"Awake My Soul"
"Dust Bowl Dance"
"I'm On Fire" (Bruce Springsteen cover)
"You Shook Me All Night Long" (AC/DC cover)
"The Cave"

To catch Mumford & Sons in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

(Nick Krewen is the Toronto-based co-author of Music from Far and Wide: Celebrating Forty Years of the Juno Awards, a contributor to The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook and has written for The Toronto StarTV GuideBillboardCountry Music. He was a consultant for the National Film Board's music industry documentary Dream Machine.)

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