Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Gentlemen of the Road

My head doesn't get stuck in the clouds too often, but once in a while it does. It happens when I least expect it. I'll be hooked on a good television show halfway through the season, and I'll start to mentally immerse myself in the story looking forward to every episode. The next thing you know, I've signed up to bring Tostino's pizza rolls and some grape soda to a gathering of like minded souls to watch the season finale. The build up to a new movie sometimes gets me too.  I build my entire summer around the release date of some movie. Then I show up hours early to the premier with a tent and 42 bags of Twizzlers.

I'm embarrassed to say that it happened again, just a few weeks ago. A band called Mumford and Sons was coming to town to play their second show of their North American tour, and I got tickets to go with 3 of my bestest mates. I was in the ether. I was as giddy as a Canadian school girl at a Robert Pattinson autograph signing; you couldn't have given me enough Lorazepam. Tickets were more difficult to score than I expected, but once I had them, I was floating with the angels. A week before the show I was getting a bit cheeky. I spent hours on-line reading about what their live shows are like, missed appointments at work, emailed the lead singer's parents in the United Kingdom, and tried to figure out a way to become a groupie AND keep my family. The premotor cortex of my brain was peeking with excitatory signals because of the anticipation I was experiencing.

Believe me, when I say that I knew my expectations were high, and I didn't care. I knew Mumford and Sons would deliver, and I was absolutely right. They delivered like a Federal Express Broadway musical. Mumford and Sons brought the frequency of life and truth to their show, and I soaked it in like a dankish sponge. Their songs are full of passion and heartache, faith and doubt, life and death. I told someone it was like being at a rally for God and humanity to work together to defeat darkness.

For each song, each band member plays a different instrument, including but not limited to an accordion, a mandolin, a banjo and an upright bass. At certain intervals during their set, the four part harmonies they found sent my joy meter to overload and made my cheeks tired. I was brimming with euphoria the entire time. During one of the transitions a member of the band gave the crowd a good chortle when he joked about southern Americans being from South America, which makes perfect sense if your from Britain. I was happy when they eventually got back to the music, which is, by far, their best feature.

The bluegrass, folk, pop and rock genre can't agree on where to place the style of music that Mumford and Sons plays. They cover everything from a head-banging mosh pit in one song to a soothing bluegrass ballad of love in another. The confusion is just, thus they've been dubbed West London Folk. Guess that's a half win for folk, and a kick in the knickers for everyone else. But first and foremost, Mumford and Sons is a festival band. That is where their roots are and throughout their tour they've scheduled festival "stopovers" to remind them of their first love. It is this characteristic that has given them the nickname, Gentlemen of the Road. You can see a documentary of their travels on

Meet the Gentlemen of the Road:
Marcus Mumford: Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Mandolin,

Ben Lovett: Vocals, Keyboards, Accordian, Drums

Country Winston Marshall: Vocals, Banjo, Dobro, Guitar

Ted Dwane: Vocals, String Bass, Drums, Guitar

As many of you are probably wondering the concert did have an ending, but it was the coolest ending ever, they came back and did a five song encore, thanked each of us collectively for coming, told us we were the best audience they had ever played for, and gave us each a business card with their personal cell phone numbers and email addresses along with a spare key to their houses in London with directions on how to take care of their fish tanks and guinea pigs while they are on tour. Best band ever.

You may scoff when you hear this, but I would like to postulate the possibility that this band has the potential to become synonymous with other long lasting superpower bands like U2, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, or Madonna. They're music stands the test of time and the cohesion between the band members could withstand the worst that the music business might have to throw at them.

Cheers to the Gentlemen of the Road.



  1. Absolutely wonderful post. I was fortunate enough to see them in concert also, at Dixon, and they were phenominal. Your description is beyond correct. They were amazing and they will break the time barrier as did the Beatles. Great post!!

  2. Thanks. I had a feeling that I wasn't doing them justice in this post, because I didn't know how to put it into words. Oh well, maybe I'll try again if I get to go to another concert.