The last gig Mumford and Sons played on their tour was in my hometown, Oslo, Norway. I got the commission to travel to Norway to do a shoot with the boys, a job I was more than happy to do.
Their music is immediately recognisable with heavy beats but still pure in style. Often placed in the category of folk although I feel the music has a more popular angle to it than traditional folk. It appeals to a wider audience and especially appeals to all those foot stompers out there. I thought I was in for a meeting with a group of serious musicians who would do little else than be present on the shoot, especially as it was also their last tour date and I am sure that energy was in high demand.
Boy was I wrong….
The guys turned up, polite, friendly and full of energy. It is easy to see how this band through their music and attitude will be one of the most dominant bands on the festival scene this summer. The perfect balance of a doze of friendly and engaging Ben Lovett mixed with a pinch of cool but happy Ted Dwayne, a handful of off the wall Winston Marshall finished off with a heaped teaspoon of the more mindful, bold and warm character Marcus Mumford. Put a beat to it, mix in some wine, wack on a strong summer sun to heat it all up on a green field, and you have a perfect festival diet.
During the shoot I thought I’d give them some advice about my home land. I said, thinking that it would just be one of those brush off comments, ‘if you want to get the crowd going then you should say on stage that the audience are much better than the Swedish audience from the night before in Stockholm. Little did I know that Ben, a kind and observant man, had taken my words to heart. As the gig in Oslo Spectrum came towards the end Ben took the microphone and said (something in the style of): “We were told by a friend earlier today that if we liked the Norwegian audience better than the Swedish then we should let you know”. The audience replied in a loud cheer…. Mixed with just as loud “booooooo”.
It is now 17 years since I lived in Norway and I had not taken into account that Oslo now has a large Swedish population living there…. Oooooops! Apologising to Ben after the concert he took it with a smile and said ‘ehr – yea – the reaction was a mixed bag’… Sorry guys!!!
The gig was good, the guys were fun and easy to get on with and they deserve the recognition they have got the last few years. Having now played at the White House and The Hollywood Bowl I suppose it cannot get much better – yet they play a gig in Oslo Spectrum, last one on their tour, filled with energy as if it was their most important gig to date.