No sun but the Sons still shine.
Mumford & Sons arrived on stage in front of the thousands of fans, stood in preparation for a long-awaited moment. M&S started off with a smooth slow-building ‘Guiding Light’, a great upbeat opener to get everyone to shake off the rain and start to feel the homey warmth of the honey-like rhythms.
The crowd’s vocals were well warmed up after an incredible set from breakthrough artist Dermot Kennedy – fans in their thousands sang back almost every single song to the Dublin singer. Dermot’s set alone was an absolutely fantastic show, illustrating why this rising start has just announced his first headline show in the 3Arena on December 22 this year.
Last night, however, it was all about Mumford & Sons whose electric melodies pulsated throughout the grounds of Malahide Castle to a point that I was so busy dancing that I forgot that it was raining.
Barrel-chested vocalist Marcus Mumford caressed the strings and the bright brass as they worked their way onto ‘Little Lion Man’. It was a clear favourite for the fans who were now belting the notes out with everything they had inside. Ben Lovett hammering on the piano, combined with Ted Dwane’s powerful plucking of the double bass, gave ‘Little Lion Man’ that extra emphasis we all had waited for.
The British band created a sense of intimacy with meaningful lyrics alongside some incredible choruses and a steady beat throughout. One minute we were soothed by the moving harmonies of ‘Beloved’, the next we were jumping around to ‘I Will Wait’. The perfect transitions between the melodies gave that recognisable folky sound we had all hoped for.
The simple backdrop of the castle with warm lighting gave a sense of pure and stripped back acoustics, which is a staple of the band’s vibe.
The new album’s title track concluded the night’s proceedings with just the right amount of brassy vocals and rumbling rhythms to give us just what we needed before we saw them off. We left with a memorable warmth of an incredible night of music.
Even in the torrential rain, the Mumford & Sons gig was everything I could have expected from the British band. As a fan for years, it was unreal to see the songs I’ve been listening to since 2010 being brought to life on stage. Each song was perfectly placed on a bed of soulful lyrics, taut brass and beautiful strings.
Mumford & Sons perform tonight, Saturday 15 June, in Malahide Castle. Limited tickets are available from Ticketmaster. Photography: Ray Keogh