Mumford & Sons: A Secret Show That's Even Better Than Seeing Them at the Hollywood Bowl
Instead of taking the night off between their two sold-out Hollywood Bowl gigs on Saturday and tonight, Mumford & Sons taped a private episode of TV series Live from the Artists Den in downtown last night. We were fortunate enough to attend the secret show at the gorgeous Belasco Theater, a newly renovated slice of early 1900’s Los Angeles.
Taking the stage shortly after 7:30 p.m., the British quartet was backed by brass and strings for an invitation-only, 16-song set. They played much of their new album, the chart-smashing Babel, but reserved plenty of slots for old favorites like the raucous, anguished “Little Lion Man” and “Awake My Soul” with its contemplative lyrics: “In these bodies we will live/ In these bodies we will die/ And where you invest your love/ You invest your life.”
“It’s really special playing a room like this. It’s not often we do,” said singer Marcus Mumford from stage. He’s not kidding. With a UK arena tour around the corner, shows for less than 1,000 attendees are becoming a rarity. But last night, it was all about the intimacy of the setting, with Mumford offering the crowd a deal: “We’ll put away our microphones if you put away your camera phones.” After nearly everyone in the crowd complied — there’s always one guy who can’t resist — Mumford, keyboardist Ben Lovett, banjoist Winston Marshall, and bassist Ted Dwane unplugged, stepped past the stage monitors, and launched into an affecting rendition of “Timshel.”
Their set also included a cover of Neil Young’s “Dance Dance Dance,” which Young released with Crazy Horse on its eponymous debut in 1971. Mumford & Sons closed their set with a three-song encore punctuated by a fervent performance of “The Cave.” After tonight’s gig at the Bowl, they don’t have any more Southern California dates on the books, but you can catch their Artists Den session on PBS or online.
I Will Wait
Roll Away Your Stone
For Those Below
Little Lion Man
Lover of the Light
After the Storm
Awake My Soul
Ghosts That We Knew
Dance Dance Dance (Crazy Horse cover)
Below My Feet
Where Are You Now?
[Photos by Sonya Singh]