Folk heroes' rousing performance

ELECTRIC: New Zealand's first taste of indie folk-rock band Mumford & Sons in the flesh left fans hungry for more.
ELECTRIC: New Zealand's first taste of indie folk-rock band Mumford & Sons in the flesh left fans hungry for more.


Mumford & Sons at CBS Canterbury Arena on Tuesday, November 7.

Support acts: Rodney Fisher and Sarah Blasko.

Mumford & Sons started their set with Babel the title track from their new album. Its lines "the walls of my town they come crumbling down" carried extra weight for the capacity crowd packed into the arena.

The young British indie folk heroes, clad in various shades of brown and pale blue and the occasional waistcoat, were loved by the crowd from the outset.

"Christchurch has the most positive people we've met" was the response from centre stage.

Performing their last gig in the southern hemisphere on this tour, Marcus Mumford (vocals, mandolin, guitar, drums), Ben Lovett (vocals, keys, accordion, drums), Ted Dwane (vocals, string bass, drums, guitar) and "Country" Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo, dobro, guitar), and an occasional trio of "friends", the group created a fantastic atmosphere with their soaring harmonies.

Supporting acts included Australian musician Sarah Blasko with band in a performance which highlighted her remarkable new album I'm Awake.

Her voice was simply stunning. Kiwi support was Rodney Fisher (Goodshirt), with his new band Three Bees comprising Elisabeth Stokes (Watercolours) and Dave Kahn (The Broadsides).

I would have liked this trio to play for longer.

Rising from the same London folk scene which spawned Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale, Mumford & Sons have sold over five million copies of their debut album Sigh No More.

Follow-up album Babel with its subtle God-fearing themes, is a logical progression. It lacks the immediate grab of Sigh No More yet does harbour some gems.

Live, their performance was rousing enough to provoke a strong reaction from a typically stoic Cantabrian crowd who sang and stomped along to their favourites - Little Lion Man, I Will Wait, Thistle & Weeds.

Marcus Mumford, married to actress Carey Mulligan (of great interest to the people behind me), swapped instruments deftly and his delivery was powerfully emotive for some.

The atmosphere was electric, the crowd enraptured by their olde worlde sensibilities and foot-stomping warmth.

At one point twinkling lights above the audience were used to great effect. It was hard to tell which were brighter - the lights above or the jubilant faces below.

Gentlemen of the Road, indeed.

The Press