London’s own folk-rock dynamo Mumford & Sons enchants Monterey
Huddled underneath a canopy of hanging light bulbs Saturday night, thousands of loyal followers stood in silence as the main stage at the Monterey County Fairgrounds went as dark as the sky. Then, after what felt like hours of excruciating anticipation (which was, in reality, only a couple of seconds), Mumford & Sons exploded on to the platform.
And so began the grand finale of the English folk-rock band’s Monterey Stopover: a whirlwind day-long festival featuring carnival rides and performances by eight bands, including Gogol Bordello, Two Gallants, and Grouplove. According to the Gentlemen of the Road tour website, Mumford & Sons chose Monterey as one of its four U.S. stops, because of the band’s admiration for John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” and because it was the location where Jimi Hendrix infamously set his guitar on fire during the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
While no instruments were set ablaze during Saturday’s set, the energy level on and off stage was easily comparable to that iconic moment in music history.
The band, currently taking the world by storm with its feel-good, foot-stomping anthems, played a stirring set, featuring numerous fan favorites off of its award-winning debut album, 2009’s Sigh No More, including “Little Lion Man,” “The Cave,” and “Awake My Soul.” But it was the new material off of the band’s forthcoming album, Babel, set for release on Sept. 21, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
And if one such song, entitled “Lovers Eyes,” is any indication of what fans can come to expect from the new album, it’s safe to say we’re in for a treat. Characterized by the same building intensity, heartfelt lyrics, and irresistible harmonizing that have made Mumford & Sons a household name, the spine-chilling song is proof that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet from these über-talented Brits. (Do yourself a favor and check out a live recording of the song on YouTube.)
To say Babel is highly anticipated would be the understatement of the year.
For more information about the band, the album and upcoming tour dates, visit mumfordandsons.com.