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Concert Reviews:
Mumford & Sons make favorable first impresson at DTE

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- It took just one song in for Marcus Mumford to let fans at the DTE Energy Music Theatre know that Tuesday night's (June 16) show was Mumford & Sons' first-ever appearance in Michigan.

"Sorry it too us so long," Mumford said. "We're (expletive) glad to be here."

The sold-out crowd certainly shared that sentiment, expletives and all, which brought a celebratory exuberance to the nearly two-hour concert that was shared both on stage and in the crowd. The British quartet clearly felt at home even in new territory, and the audience responded to its crack chops and dynamically diverse repertoire with enough singalongs to assure the group -- and its four additional musicians -- know that this was a show it had been waiting for probably since 2009, when Mumford & Sons' first album was released.

But it was the band's latest work -- "Wilder Mind," its chart-topping third album -- that enjoyed the spotlight on Tuesday. A full half of the 20-song concert hailed from the set, on which Mumford & Sons stepped out of the rootsy acoustic leaning of its two predecessors to embrace a more electric and mainstream rock approach. But, as on disc, the group proved as potent at that as it is at making arena-sized folk, nimbly moving between the ringing ambience of "Snake Eyes," the title track's easy groove, the polished pop of "Believe" and "Tompkins Square Park," and the charged rock of "Ditmas."

On "Just Smoke," meanwhile, Mumford & Sons were joined by the Maccabees, which the gregarious Mumford -- who also joined the group for two songs during its opening set -- introduced as "probably the greatest British band of the last 20 years."

The focus on "Wilder Mind" did not eclipse or diminish Mumford & Sons' previous work, however, and the smoothly executed juxtaposition of styles gave the show a welcome variety and musical depth accented by a tastefully elaborate light show. "Lover's Eyes" and "I Will Wait" established a strong early tone, while favorites such as "Babel," "The Cave," "Roll Away Your Stone," the intricate "Dust Bowl Dance" and "Little Lion Man" clearly stood out as firsts among equals on the set list.

The net result was a celebration -- and a fine first impression. "We are very (expletive) lucky to be playing for you, banjoist/guitarist Winston Marshall declared before the encores. And he could rest assured the feeling was certainly mutual.

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