Mumford and Sons Sings, Sweats, Saves Souls at Off Broadway

[show_avatar align=left avatar_size=62]  At 7:02, I arrived to a line forming outside the patio. Off Broadway, on occasion, will graciously open its [side]doors early for highly attended shows. Inside the almost empty venue (doors weren’t until 8:00, mind you), Marcus Mumford ambled around and eventually parked himself upstairs in a corner, munching on a homemade snack provided by friends of OB while watching locals Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine soundcheck.

St. Louisans Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine (Beth Bombara) opened. Photo courtesy of Kate McDaniel.

When fans were let in through the ‘dontyoudarebringyourdrinkoutthere’ door (save last night, when Jason served outside – bonus points for convenience), some of the teens in attendance literally ran into the place, almost squealing with joy. And hey, it wasn’t even annoying. We have a lot of things to worry about for our young people today, but hearing and seeing kids stoked for a show isn’t one of those things; that’s refreshing.

Marcus Mumford, Photo courtesy of Kate McDaniel

There wasn’t much full-on dancing beyond the standard sway, the exception being how people moved politely around one another (concert chivalry is not dead). However, Mumford played most of their numbers like a dance: slow, slow, quick quick, slow. Alternating tempos kept songs interesting, reverant. Sound production, almost always impressive at OB, made things nice and loud without drowning out vocals. And on “Blank White Page,” the voices of the crowd met with M & S’s voices somewhere high, up near the crowded balcony. The chorus was sung – nay, screamed – together, “Oh, tell me now where was my fault/ In loving you with my whole heart…” and was chill-inducing despite the temperature in the room.

Mumford and Sons, Photo courtesy of Kate McDaniel

The next time Mumford and Sons blows through St. Louis, they’ll probably be playing the Pageant. There will be a short gate keeping pit dwellers six or so feet away the stage. Minors will be separated from beer drinkers. The show will be great no doubt, but it will attract the type of concertgoer who asks you to watch her seat and her cocktail while she waddles to the bathroom in 4” heels.

Mumford and Sons, Photo courtesy of Kate McDaniel

But last night, that little rock club on Lemp Ave. felt like a family reunion. It was hot, crowded, boozy, friendly, and all-ages. While you didn’t know everyone, by the end of the night you sure as hell felt like you did. The dynamic of the crowd was sort of suburban 4th of July concert and fireworks event meets Tin Can MF on a Tuesday night. That’s not a criticism. The mid-20 year-old, tallboy drinkin’, plaid and jorts wearin’ crew sidled up next to kind, patient women in Momjeans™, one of whom drove from Oklahoma with her two young daughters for the show. There was something a little like magic in the air last night, but it’s not as simple as the silly, enthusiastic groupthink that a sold out concert in a small venue inspires. Mumford and Sons, with their unassuming and earnest live performance technique, invited everyone – forget age, outfit, income, and neighborhood – into their world via the Gateway City.

We would’ve stayed all night.

** Our buddy Kate graciously allowed us to use some of her shots from last night in this post. She’s even agreed to bop around with us now and then and take more. She’s talented; we’re grateful! Here’s the rest of her set from M & S, along with an RFT Showcase batch: Kate’s Flickr

Comments (2)

  1. Court says:

    Great review, Jess. I had such an amazing time. I stood next to a group of rabid early-twenties fan boys, which sounds terrible, but it was great. They jumped up and down, singing along, one guy gleefully exclaiming, “Dude, this is like the best moment in my life!” We all chatted together easily because we had this in common, this shared experience of appreciating this great music.

    I know these guys will blow up, and we’ll think about back when they played Off Broadway, but I do hope they grow. That’s true love – when you love a band so much you want to share their music with the general public. And agreed, when people were scream-singing along with Mumford during “White Blank Page” there was a very true moment there. The reason people love to go see live music.

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