Mumford and Sons at Red Rocks. I’ll write more than that but in the end that’s all that really has to be said. It’s the perfect combination for a perfect show and perfect it was. I haven’t seen Red Rocks like this in a while. The lower GA section was almost full before the first opener started. Over ninety percent of the crowd stayed until the last possible moment. Voices rang out into the warm summer air and people danced. Oh how they danced. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and it might even have trumped Pearl and the Beard for best show so far. I’m still on the fence about that though.
Slow Club was the first band to take the stage and as can happen at Red Rocks the people filing in and the buzz of personal conversation sort of distracted myself and a large portion of the crowd from their set. Their first song was very energetic and danceable and I liked it but after that first song they slowed things down considerably and it became harder to remain focused on them. Which isn’t to say they weren’t trying, they were, and what they played was pretty decent but it never fully won me over.
They were really working to try to get the crowd to participate, which is an admirable and understandable goal, but the crowd just wasn’t there yet so it never really panned out for them. I don’t know, I don’t want to say they were bad, I think that maybe in another setting I might have liked them a lot more but the buzz of the crowd and the fact that we were still so far away from the band we had all come to see resulted in them getting lost in the wash. I feel like I should have more to say here but I didn’t really get into what these guys were doing which means wither, I was too distracted to take notice, or they just aren’t my thing. Neither of those is the band’s fault. I’ll just go ahead and show you a video of them and you can judge for yourself. Mind you, it’s a video that focuses more on the folk than the rock that they gave us last night. As a result I really like it. So, you know, just disregard everything I said above. Except the listen and judge for yourself part. That part is still valid.
Dawes really won me over. Pretty much right away. Not that I was hostile toward them to begin with. I’m never hostile toward a band before I listen to them but they had such an honest sound that I couldn’t help but be swept up in their music. Their music was pure and technically impressive, they even jammed (which isn’t really my thing but delighted my girlfriend) but they didn’t overjam. Which is totally a thing a band can do. Overjam. It’s a technical term, that I’m not making up at all. It happens. What really brought their music home for me though was their lyrics and their heartfelt vocals.
I feel like I use that word a lot. Heartfelt. It’s often appropriate to music though, or at least it should be. Music should always, always, come from the heart. If it doesn’t you’re doing something wrong. The tricky bit is getting it to be heartfelt when you perform it. I have a feeling that that might be one of the more challenging things about being a musician, especially a singer. Opening yourself up, exposing that which is raw and rough and unwieldy and tapping it to make the words sound true and right each and every night. Dawes nailed the truth of their music at this show. I can’t be certain that they nail it every single time as I’ve only seen them the once but I can tell you that it was so good that I feel like I have to see them again. It was just that kind of performance, a fan making performance.
Halfway through their set they were joined by Marcus the lead singer of Mumford and Sons and they achieved a remarkable feat. That being getting the crowd to sing along with a song that most of them didn’t know before they started playing it. It was pretty impressive. There is always this great feeling of joy in my heart when the band stops playing and the crowd sings on. For an opening band to get that moment in front of that crowd was pretty great.
I’d highly recommend seeing these guys if you get a chance. Their songs are well written and well performed, and they are well worth checking out.
This was my favorite song they played last night:
I feel like there isn’t a lot I can say here that hasn’t already been said about Mumford and Sons. At this point I think everyone is familiar with them in some sense. They are everywhere and seemingly loved by everyone and that love is justly earned. Their music is everything to good music should be. Some of their songs managed to be energetic, honest, powerful, and sad all at the same time. Their tempo shifts are sudden and beautiful and the perfect thing to get your feet moving. They are really just incredible. Astounding. Outstanding. Remarkable. They are all that and more. I’d easily say that this is the best Red Rocks show that I’ve ever seen and that anyone would be hard pressed to top it. It was just that good.
They played a lot of songs from their upcoming album and every one of them was good. I’d say that this is one band that isn’t likely to suffer the Sophomore slump that so many bands do. During the show thy apologized for the lateness of their second album but I really don’t think they should because the time they spent on it is the reason it will be good. Possibly not as good as their debut but that’s a tall order for a lot of bands and especially so for them. That’s because a band usually has years and years to perfect their first album but very little time to even write for their second. So to them, and every musician everywhere I say. Take your time, record when it feels right. As listeners we’ll be better for it.
Halfway through The Cave, which was the second to last song, I experienced a Red Rocks first. Confetti. As far as the eye could see confetti. It filled the sky and covered the crowd. It was a sight to behold and added a great cap to an already astounding night and an incredible set. It really seemed like that would be the end of the show. The Cave and Confetti is a great way to end but then this happened.
What you’re seeing there (Or what you would be seeing if my camera wasn’t terrible) is every member of every band that played that night. Taking the stage together. At this point, my girlfriend Lisa turned to me and said. Is it bad that I want them to play a cover. I certainly didn’t think so and neither did the bands because we where then treated to a joyous version of With a Little Help From My Friends. They played and sang the song with reckless abandon and the crowd sang along to every word. If there’s a better way to end that show and that night I can’t think of it.
I really feel like everyone knows Mumford and Sons by now but not everyone has seen them live and really, truly, you must. It’s the kind of thing that is so magical, so incredible that you would be loath to miss it. So don’t. See them as soon as you possibly can.
Two songs in closing, both of which you probably know:
This song here, well, this was probably the highlight of the night for me: