Thunder Folk. That is how radio station WTMD described Mumford and Sons earlier this week. After selling out in less than an hour, anticipation was high for what was, in their own words “by far the biggest gig we’ve ever had” the biggest show Mumford and Sons have headlined, at least here in the US. Anticipation wasn’t the only thing high, since the temperature hung around a scorching 104 for most of the day. Merriweather kicked off their very first gate crashers, giving those who came early some beer specials and games behind the lawn, as well as first rush to snag prime lawn seats. Matthew and the Atlas got the crowd going with their set full of folk rock and instrument switching. There were bursts of screams and clapping as a thunderstorm rolled in soaking everyone not under the pavilion, bringing new meaning to the term Thunder Folk.
Somewhere in the middle of The Low Anthem’s set, after a few more close thunder and lightning claps, the torrential downpour ended giving everyone a chance to focus on the music and shake off the rain. Low Anthem’s set was mellow, bordering melancholy as they changed instruments and gears, kicking it into an energetic finale to get the crowd ready for Mumford and Sons to take the stage.
The stage was hung with big bulb lights swooping across the middle of the stage. The quartet hit the stage with Sigh No More, and igniting an immediate crowd sing along. With added violin, the guys went into After The Storm, and then Winter Winds accompanied by trumpets and trombone. The energy picked up, and the rest of the set was full of instrument changing, banjo pelvic thrusting and vocal harmonizing. Even the new songs kept the crowd engaged and eager for the band to have some studio time to record a new record (they promise after this summer tour!). By the time they played Little Lion Man, the band seemed not just humbled but overwhelmed at the energy and praise from the crowd, saying “this is by far the biggest gig we’ve ever had.” And they had plenty of help with energy from the crowd, singing and dancing along.
Ending with The Cave as an encore and a slower tempo was certainly what the crowd was waiting for, as everyone sang and swayed along was certainly a perfect ending to a night of Thunder Folk, with a little added lightning.