Mumford & Sons at Phoenix Park | Review

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Mumford & Sons at Phoenix Park, Dublin on July 14th 2013

And so it arrives; the final instalment of the Phoenix Park summer hat-trick. Folk’s flag-bearers Mumford & Sons headline the bill and with summer at its relative mid-point, the sense of festival is as clear as the boundless blue sky above.

Ireland’s newly adopted Californian summer and acts such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Ham Sandwich, Ben Howard and The Vaccines mean that music lovers, beer enthusiasts, and sun worshippers alike can soak up the atmosphere in equal measure.

Shortly beyond nine o’clock, Babel opens proceedings, and it seems we’re entering the prologue to a woody-wondrous musical. Women everywhere, crowned in flowered bands and gowned in floral threads, sing proudly up on shoulders. Little Lion Man follows, sung brilliantly by those in attendance, whereas the band simply smile along to the music.

Winter Winds from début album ‘Sigh No More’ provides elegance and heart, with it’s medieval drum stomp reminding us how simple it is to compel a crowd’s feet to bruise the earth. It’s at this point, when the song reaches its final and diluted calm, that you realise every song previous faced the same fate. The unremarkable breaks between each track are disappointing, moments of complete silence from the stage that kill the momentum and quickly isolate the crowd. Let it be said, however, that the die-hards are in good voice, but an outbreak of socialising takes place in the audience and sadly becomes viral in certain sections. Intuitively, singer Marcus Mumford says “it’s time to dance” and the band, accompanied by impressive strings and brass, erupt into their monster hit I Will Wait. The crowd assist with vigour, like the voice of an army.

And then, again, the fizz the band have managed to bottle goes tasteless and flat. A slow and uneventful mid-section rumbles along like a long school lesson. Dust Bowl Dance provides some kind of hope, with Marcus Mumford seating himself behind the drums and beating them to a shrill pulp. But the night has passed without much event and many in the crowd have chosen to leave early and beat the rush. Perhaps a venue this size doesn’t quite suit the warm, homely sound of folk; in this writer’s opinion, intimate venues are certainly more favourable to this genre.

Mumford & Sons may not have the stadium sound befitting a large park, but they do have good manners by the bucket load and give it good welly; they’re positively endearing chaps. For whatever reason, the spark is misplaced – a belt of The Cave and our very own Galway Girl at least send those that remain behind striding home with a smile and a tan.

Mumford and Sons Photo Gallery

Photos: Owen Humphreys

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