Concert Review: Mumford & Sons play a sold-out show at the Molson Amphitheatre


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Monday night’s Mumford & Sons show at the Molson Amphitheatre may as well have been a crowning ceremony. If it wasn’t clear going into the sold-out show, it became blatantly obvious during the mesmerizing two-hour set that the English folk-rock foursome are the hottest touring act in the world right now.

Coming off a two-day Gentlemen of the Road stopover in Simcoe, Marcus Mumford and co. put forth a master class in sound, pacing, mood-setting and audience interaction in front of 16,000 fans.

The 19-song set started slowly, with deliberate time gaps spacing out songs like “Lover’s Eyes” and “Little Lion Man” before gaining momentum and gradually building towards a frenzied peak. By the time Mumford got around to cult faves like “I Will Wait,” “Awake My Soul” and “Dust Bowl Dance,” his energetic guitar strumming had infused distinct a electricity into the air.

The encore, meanwhile, was refreshingly fun and quirky. After returning to the stage with a Bruce Springsteen cover (“I’m On Fire”), the band surprised its fans with a tongue-in-cheek take on AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” a clear departure from their folksy comfort zone, but one that was embraced by the crowd nevertheless. One lucky audience member was selected to lend his pipes to the rock ballad.

That fan wasn’t the only crowd member to feel the love from Mumford & Sons. Those sitting on the tightly packed lawn received multiple shout-outs from Mumford, who went so far as to designate them the “A” section.

This audience connectivity is common for the band, both in a positive sense and, once in a while, a negative one — Mumford was quick to deride a loud, intrusive fan who interrupted the band’s otherwise delicate Springsteen cover.

All of that reinforces the fact that the band possesses complete control onstage. They deftly manage the pace of the show and the crowd, all the while serving up exceptional musicianship and exuding a genuine enthusiasm for their crowd.

With only a few shows remaining on the 2013 concert slate at the Amphitheatre, this one is going to be pretty hard to top.

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