Thursday night saw British folk-rock giants Mumford & Sons brave the heat wave and take to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre as part of their Delta tour, promoting the band’s fourth studio album of the same name. Supporting the band was Aussie singer-songwriter Gretta Ray and soulful English singer Michael Kiwanuka.
First up for the night was Melbourne’s Gretta Ray, serenading punters as they strolled into the AEC. Though playing a short set, Gretta was the perfect opener and impressed the crowd with a vocal and lyrical maturity usually far beyond the reach of a musician in their early 20s. Interspersing tunes from recent EP Here and Now with older songs, Gretta wrapped up her set expressing her gratitude to Mumford & Sons for taking her on tour and left the audience buzzing for what was next.
After a brief intermission Michael Kiwanuka appeared on stage and kept the good vibes rolling with his bluesy-folk sound. This performance was another crowd-pleaser, and definitely built on the energy of the previous performance. Providing a more concrete sound while treating punters to songs from both his first and second albums, Kiwanuka perfectly set the scene for the highlight of the night.
At long last Mumford & Sons took to the stage; what followed was truly a performance that I can’t fault. The folk-rock band radiated an onstage presence that can’t be captured in their studio work, and from the first song of the set it was clear that frontman Marcus Mumford was giving the performance his all. The band quickly launched into crowd favourite ‘Little Lion Man’, which the crowd sang along to word-for-word. The performance went from strength to strength, with the band able to both conjure up seemingly limitless energy for upbeat power tracks such as ‘The Wolf’, and then provide truly emotive performances of the stripped-back, soft acoustic versions of their songs such as ‘Awake My Soul’. After inviting both support acts back on stage once more to perform for the now-packed crowd, Mumford & Sons wrapped things up with a cover of the Springsteen classic ‘I’m on Fire’ and closing with title track from their new album, ‘Delta’. Mumford & Son’s show provided everything one could want; a dynamic live performance, plenty of crowd engagement (including Mumford jumping from the stage to mosh with the crowd during ‘Ditmas’), fun banter and even some pretty rad pyrotechnics. Rarely have I seen an audience so engaged with a performance from start to finish, and I can safely say these folk-rockers left Adelaidians feeling pretty glad they had come along.
Photo via Mumford & Sons Facebook page, taken by Jessica Mathers.