Review: Mumford & Sons at Fillmore, 6/15/11
MUMFORD & SONS at the FILLMORE | 06.15.11
Jon Solomon Mumford & Sons last night at the Fillmore
"Mumford and his mates certainly did their best to show the crowd one of the greatest shows they have seen in recent memory."
Photo by Jon Solomon
Nathaniel Rateliff and Fairchildren • Matthew and the Atlas
06.15.11 | Fillmore Auditorium
If any further proof is required of the massive success that England's Mumford and Sons is enjoying in this country, you need look no further than the first of two sold out nights at the Fillmore Auditorium, from the energy of the band to the energy of the crowd. On stage, dozens of instruments littered the stage amidst elaborate lighting set ups, setting the scene of a thrift store run by a crazed shop owner. It all made for massive, jubliant hootenanny.
Opening up the spectacle on this night was fellow Englanders, by way of Aldershot, Matthew and the Atlas. The band, certainly knew their way around a harmony as lead vocalist Matt Hegarty hit octaves far below pianist Lindsay West's sweet falsetto.
Hegarty's voice conjured up images of Gordon Lightfoot with a similar earnest delivery and sincere sentiment on lines like "My grandfather he did ask me, do you know what you have done/There were ripples in the water, I found them when you were young."
Hegarty also sported similar facial hair to Lightfoot as well, but he could not be reached to find out if he knew anything about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. If you were to stumble upon Matthew and the Atlas at a local coffee shop, they would be an admirable sight, but dwarfed by the Fillmore's massive stage, the enormity of the event, and the talent that was following, the band came off as no more than average.
Photo by Jon Solomon Matthew and the Atlas
Local boy done good Nathaniel Rateliff, meanwhile, and his talented backing band, Fairchildren - guitarist Joseph Pope, drummer Patrick Meese, cellist Julie Davis and keyboard player James Hahn -- seemed completely in their element playing to a crowd of this magnitude. Rateliff played some new and intriguing material in the beginning of his set, songs not appearing on his latest album, the excellent In Memory of Loss.
Photo by Jon Solomon Nathaniel Rateliff
The first two songs found Rateliff emitting the same classic timbre that he has worked so tirelessly to hone, while incorporating an ominous tone in the vein of Devothcka and Murder by Death. On these songs, Davis's contributions can not be overstated; she bowed her up-right bass with conviction while applying strong and complementary harmonies to Rateliff's vocals.
Photo by Jon Solomon Julie Davis's contributions cannot be overstated
By the third song, Rateliff decided to delve into his amazing album, playing "Whimper and Wail" while Meese's tom heavy beat added urgency and pulse to the song. Later in the set, Rateliff played "Early Spring Till" followed by "You Should've Seen the Other Guy," proving he can play a song about the changing of seasons, followed by a song about getting his ass kicked in a street fight, and still make them sound equally poetic.
More photos and critic's notebook on next page.