As hard as it was for me to believe this was the first trip to the great state of Michigan for Marcus Mumford and his “Sons,” it was even harder for them to believe it.
“It’s pretty rare when we go out touring now and we play a city we have never been to… but we are really fucking happy we are here in Detroit,” Mumford told the sell out DTE crowd. One thing we could all believe was Mumford and Sons will be welcomed back anytime they please after this performance.
Despite a bit of a musical overhaul with their new album, the boys still looked the same as before. Rocking the “country boy” look, although from a different country. I hated the set list (more on this in a moment) but it included a decent chunk of new tracks, still dominated by their more familiar classics from their first two albums. Having seen them twice before, I was still impressed by the passion they exuded. The white-wash crowd agreed with me, singing and dancing at every moment that called for it. Mumford and Sons gave a great performance, but the flow of the show took away so much for me.
Lowlights: The Set List
To be clear, this is more the choice of songs and order, not the songs themselves. I didn’t get it. You can tell M&S are trying everything they can to evolve and become something different and I’m enjoying it. But, the set list did everything it could to deconstruct the progress. Starting out (sloooooowly) with “Lovers’ Eyes” was a terrible choice. The build up takes forever. I don’t really recall this being one of their clamored about tracks from fans and it’s not even from the new album. Because of this lame ass opener, it took a while for everyone to get into the show. They closed the show with their newer song “The Wolf,” which would have been a perfect opener.
One more point about the set, then I’ll move on (although I know people love Hot Set List Talk). “Dustbowl Dance” is their BEST live song. Always. So the use of pyrotechnics during the ending musical flourish is completely unnecessary. We are already watching, we can’t take our eyes off you right now, there is no need for fireworks.
That’s the biggest concern I have with Mumford and Sons, they seem like they lack confidence or something. Overcompensating with fireworks, changing their look and style based on what the industry says, and playing a set list that seems to have been constructed by shuffling a list of songs and dealing them out randomly. Just be you. Don’t worry about what anyone says about you fellas, you’re a great band, you consistently show it.
Along with the previously mentioned “Dustbowl Dance”, the performance of “Believe” from their new album was pretty incredible. “Believe” is the perfect song to compare acoustic M&S with electric M&S. It starts somewhat somber and soft, with an exceptionally catchy melody of lyrics. It slowly builds energy, until finally popping with a frantic “hoedown” of music. Marcus gets to really show off his raspy, strong vocals, just like the other tracks we know. He even showed some great frontman swagger as he took the mic and stood on the edge of the stage, with a commanding presence over the Clarkston crowd. “Thistle & Weeds” was another highlight. Along with Dustbowl, this is what M&S do best, the menacing aurora, with the building rage that could only come from having your back to the wall. “Thistle & Weeds” is the song that has the highest enjoyment performed live over studio version. I would LOVE to see Mumford and Sons write as many of these songs as possible in their career, they pull them off so well. For now, we can be perfectly content with how brilliant “Thistle & Weeds” is performed.
It was a great show. Mumford and Sons played with the passion and energy we have come to expect, I just didn’t like the structure of the show. The flow was clunky and didn’t capitalize on the crowds energy like they could have. I love their new music, I love their old music…just turn off the SHUFFLE button on the playlist.
Set List (Via Setlist.fm)
I Will Wait
Lover of the Light
Thistle & Weeds
Ghosts That We Knew
Just Smoke (with The Maccabees)
Tompkins Square Park
Roll Away Your Stone
Dust Bowl Dance
Little Lion Man