7 Minute Miles

Mumford & Sons at Xcel

Posted Thursday, September 5th, 2013 11:49 pm GMT -6 in Concerts, Music

It must be tough being a music critic these days – free passes, good seats, access regular fans don’t get…and nobody liking what you write. Seems like Chris Riemenschneider got a little “feedback” for his Mumford review today in the Strib. The Ross Raihala review in the PiPress was a little kinder, while Sarina Long over at KSTP.com probably wrote the most news-like story I’ve seen.

As for me, I had a great time. I didn’t get to see them at Red Rocks, the 400 Bar, the Varsity, or First Avenue, so I’ve waited a long time. Would the X be my first choice? Hell, no. At this point in their career, though, you get what you get. For an arena show, it was about as good as you can do: sound was fine (as usual at the X), the sight lines from my seat were decent and the lighting and video was inspired (the string lights were a nice touch).

Yes, a lot of Mumford songs sound the same. I caught myself a few times thinking – “didn’t they already play this?” The thing is, though, I really like that style of song from them. If their third album sounds basically the same, I’d be OK with that too. As for lyrics, you can call them “hopelessly trite, college-poet lyricism,” but they speak to me and that’s a big part of what I like about Mumford songs. Guess I’m a college poet and didn’t even know it…

The two encore songs at the opposite end of the arena were great, mainly because they were literally right in front of me. I was really hoping for a surprise appearance by Trampled By Turtles for a cover of Alone (since Turtles seem to pop up everywhere), but all we got was a bearded guy that nobody wrote about, so I have no idea who it was. I had to smile earlier when Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford decided to play the Rock Star card and trashed the drum set after Dust Bowl Dance. That wasn’t something you expect to see at a folk-rock show, but I guess the Hopeless Wanderer video provided some foreshadowing…

My only real issues with the evening were 1) the drunk “bros” standing on the main floor near me who thought it was a great idea to scream back and forth to each other about everything going on in their lives and 2) the awkward pauses between songs: lights up, no banter, applause gone – uncomfortable. I don’t know how many times I’ve written about talkers at shows and I don’t really know what can be done – some people just suck, I guess.

Oh, I should also mention the ticketing process. It’s a noble idea to prevent scalpers from buying up all the tickets, but the lottery process and the on-sale date experience was a mess. I went to buy tickets as soon as I got the email notification that I was selected, but I couldn’t get four seats together anywhere. Or three. Or two. We ended up with four single seats – not a huge deal, but this “sold out” show could have fit at least another 1,000 people on the main floor, in my opinion.

Here’s the set list:

  • Lovers’ Eyes
  • I Will Wait
  • Whispers in the Dark
  • Holland Road
  • White Blank Page
  • Broken Crown
  • Timshel
  • Little Lion Man
  • Lover of the Man
  • Thistle & Weeds
  • Ghosts That We Knew
  • Beneath My Feet
  • Roll Away Your Stone
  • Awake My Soul
  • Dust Bowl Dance
  • –Encore–
  • I’m on Fire (Springsteen)
  • Reminder
  • Come Together (Beatles, with the Vaccines)
  • The Cave

Up next: Mike Doughty, October 25th at First Avenue

Originally published by DK on September 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm

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