Tuesday, 20 April 2010

I heart Mumford & Sons

This post is a cheat, I'll admit, as I wrote the review in 2008. No fresh thoughts here. But I'm going to let myself off as I'm tired. And 20th May was the day I fell a little bit in love with Mumford and Sons. Worth celebrating I feel, as a life puncuated by their brand of bluegrass is a brighter one, and this night was one of musical magic.

Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit
Mumford and Sons
Sweet Baboo
Clwb Ifor Bach
20th May 2008

The main thrust of the crowd hadn’t arrived at Clwb Ifor when Sweet Baboo (real name Steve), the first support act to Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, took to a wooden chair on the stage. A compact audience suited this quietly spoken Cardiff solo singer/songwriter as he strummed his way through a quirky set of songs on topics such as aliens and fights with talking wolves. He admitted to forgetting his lyrics on more than one occasion but I couldn’t help wondering whether this was accidental or staged as it just seemed to add more charm to the kooky country inspired performance.

If Sweet Baboo’s set evoked a warm glow amongst the Clwb contingent, the next act Londoners Mumford & Sons set them aflame with their enrapturing blend of bluegrass/folk punctuated with the rumbling beat of a kickdrum. Usually a quartet, the boys were one member down this evening which was hard to believe with their sound already perfect, enveloping me totally in their uplifting, catchy, sometimes ethereal sound. I can’t wait to see these guys in the Folky Dolky Tent at Greenman!

Headliners Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit were enthusiastically received from the very start of their set, particularly so when Flynn boosted his ‘honorary Welshman’ status by commiserating the recent Cardiff City loss with fans. Flynn partly grew up in the little fishing village of Porthgain, near Pembrokeshire, where his parents moved when he was 15, and this band is very much a family affair with sister Lillie on backing vocals and the 3 other members interchanging a variety of instruments between songs. Peppered with banjos and fiddles, Flynn’s tracks veer between the light-hearted and solemn, but all have an effervescent beat in common which provokes a jig in even the most resistant of listeners, and certainly had the crowd at Clwb Ifor making like at a barn dance.

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