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Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers: 24 Hours of Musical Implosion

Mumford and Sons - TD Garden
Can barely type right now, I am so musically blissed out. I didn’t plan on seeing Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers in a 24 hour span, but the Lumineers bumped their concert back a week and I found myself going from one concert to the other (with some sweet folky dreams in between). Sure the combo makes some (ok, most) hipsters scoff, but after exhausting both albums all fall semester, it was time to take our relationship to the next level (hang with me, remember, my brain and heart are both mushy and vulnerable and words are difficult.)

First were the Lumineers at the House of Blues in Boston. I arrived late to the sold-out show and was forced to stand in the back of the venue. Because I was far away and less attached to the performance, it took me awhile to really connect with the set. The group sounded great though, encouraging audience sing-alongs during the upbeat “Flowers in Her Hair” and the ever-anticipated “Ho Hey.” Although vocalist Wesley Schultz and instrumentalist Stelth Ulvang joined the crowd for a call and response to their hit single, the band performed the song as an encore to give us the full, Bing commercial effect. It’s funny, I love most of the songs on the album, yet my favorite takeaways from the show were unreleased singles. The first: a gorgeous duet between Wesley and Neyla (below) called “Falling.” The second: a collaboration with opener Y La Bamba, a cover of the Violent Femmes’ “American Music.”

The Lumineers

And then there’s Mumford. I stood three rows away from the stage inside the massive TD Garden. Thought I could keep my fangirl tendencies to a minimal, but as soon as they stepped on stage, my hands were permanently in the air. I forgot that large concerts take on a theatrical element- and Mumford used large wheels and light displays to enhance, but not overpower, their folk-rock sound. Mumfy barely chatted with the audience and focused solely on a stellar performance. They clearly knows how to perform their iconic, booming crescendos, which made acoustic versions of “Reminder” and “Sister,” performed on a small stage on the opposite side of the stadium, even more delicate. I was exhausted just from singing and jumping along. But then again, Mumford plucked at my heartstrings for a solid 2 hours in addition to their aggressive banjo chords.

Mumford and Sons - TD Garden

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Boston Music Awards: My Folkin’ Picks

The Boston Music Awards are arguably the most exciting day for the Boston music scene. Powered by the New England music scene, the BMAs celebrates its 25th birthday this December.

I’m so excited for my favorites Gentlemen Hall and Allston Pudding; both were nominated for Pop Artist of the Year and Best Boston Music Blog for the second year in a row (respectively). Naturally, upon hearing the nomination announcement, I scanned the Folk category, realizing I wasn’t familiar with any of these local gems! Embarrassing, I know. Rather than blindly vote based on most creative name, I decided to give these nominations a fair listen. Here are my brief impressions and picks for The BMA’s “Best Folk Artist of the Year.”

Folk Artist of the Year

Bow Thayer And Perfect Trainwreck – Classic, conversational bluegrass/rock music.

Caleb Groh – Sounds like a young Rufus Wainwright. Similar nasally voice and slow crooning.

David Wax Museum – Poppy, quirky, boisterous folk. (DWM is nominated for 3 awards at this year’s BMAs!)

Ellis Paul – Typical folk singer/songwriter with long hair from Maine. (Sorry Ellis.)

You Won’t – Infectious rhythmic beats with tons of clapping and stomping.

And the winner is…

You Won’t!

It was a close call between them and David Wax Museum, however this acoustic version of “Television” on the Big Ugly Yellow Couch sold me. Plus, they have a much newer, younger sound than competitors Bow Thayer and Ellis Paul. What’s better- praising the folk traditionalists for keeping the original music alive? Or looking towards modern-day folk and its many interpretations. (I believe in the latter.) The duo of Raky Sastri and Josh Arnoudse bounce with energy and soar on distinct percussion patterns.

Keep an ear out for the real winners on December 2. The BMAs will be hosted at the Liberty Hotel.  More information can be found on their website.

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