Mumford & Sons at Riverside Theater
- MONDO LUCHA! celebrates fifth anniversary in high-flying style at Turner Hall
- David Sedaris goes off book, shines at Pabst Theater
- Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck offer glimpses of greatness at Riverside Theater
- John Hodgman, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman give Pabst Theater three shows for price of one
- Top 5 musical moments from Kenosha’s 2013 Ride of the Living Dead
Mumford & Sons are on a hell of a roll. Their current U.S. tour sold out in, basically, nine seconds. The band’s gone from playing smallish clubs to Lollapalooza to pretty big rooms in under a year, all on a relatively limited touring schedule. The band made its first stop in Milwaukee Saturday night at Riverside Theater, and, honestly, they kind of ripped it up.
From the opener “Sigh No More” to closer “The Cave,” the band had the audience absolutely eating out of its hands. It was a clap-tastic sing-along the entire damn show, and yes, it was Halloween, and, yes, PBR tall boys cost $3. But man, people were just loving it. The “you are not alone” refrain on “Timshel” practically turned into a cathartic group cry, for fuck’s sake.
The band ate that energy up, too, like little bluegrass vampires. Sporting the requisite flannels, vests, and boots, the band members yelped, stomped, head-banged, and gyrated suggestively. Keyboardist Ben Lovett and multi-instrumentalist “Country” Winston went full bash brothers during “Winter Winds,” feverishly playing off of each other on accordion and banjo, respectively. It’s kind of refreshing that these guys can play their limited number of songs every single night and still seem to be really, really enjoying themselves.
The addition of a two-person brass section really thickened up some of the band’s material, and “Below My Feet,” a new song, really worked. People were into “Lover Of The Light,” another new song, though a relatively hokey one, with plenty of orchestral Dave Matthews-ish undertones. Members of the group have said they’re probably going to move in a “new direction” on their second record, presumably due out next year, but let’s hope they try and stay at least a little quaint, instead of venturing into even more mainstream melodies and anthems.
The obligatory encore was unexpectedly heart-warming, as the band brought out openers Cadillac Sky and King Charles for an intimate, acoustic version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” which ultimately turned into another whole-audience sing-along. The rendition of the song was chock full of ecstatic energy, just like everything that came before it. It looks like these Brits are more than happy to be climbing the rock popularity ladder, one giant leap at a time.