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Mumford & Sons Bring Folk To Barclays Center

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – On the heels of their Sunday night Album of the Year GRAMMY win, Mumford & Sons played their second show in two weeks at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The British folk rockers brought stage design with them that tried with all its might to turn the sports arena into an outdoor experience.

Opening were Los Angeles act HAIM, a trio of sisters who rocked like a hurricane, and Ben Howard, a British strummer who Mumford have opened for a number of times in their home country.

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But the near-capacity crowd were clearly there to see Mumford & Sons. Every seat in the arena, all the way up through the nosebleeds, appeared to be occupied by excited fans. Marcus Mumford acknowledged them between songs saying, “This feels like more people than the other night,” when the group played prior to becoming the musically-anointed darlings for the moment.

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They opened with the title track from their award winning album Babel. On stage were the usual guitars and drums, set off with a high spirited cello player. The stage lighting behind them morphed into a mock sunset, one of several atmospheric and dramatic light changes that were an unexpected and clever addition to the show.

They didn’t hesitate to jump right into the hits, playing “I Will Wait” followed by “Winter Winds,” while the stage was bathed in ocean blue lights.

Other set highlights included “Timshel,” after which Marcus Mumford addressed their big GRAMMY event and he wasn’t shy about peppering his aside with profanities. “We had a mental weekend,” Mumford said. “We were sick and we’re tired, but let’s do this!” Appropriately, the band then segued into “Little Lion Man,” their hit song known for it’s f-bomb chorus.

The crowd was thick and diverse — ages ranged from 21 to couples clearly in their ’60s and outfits ran the gamut from sparkly blouses to tank tops on women and hoodies and day-glo sneakers to suits on men. Gingham shirts marked sincerity, while black framed glasses marked hipsters, all converged under the arena that Jay-Z built.

For “Lover of the Light” Marcus Mumford hopped behind the drums, as is his custom. “The Cave” was played as a dirge while the band were awash in deep red lights, creating a moment strangely akin to a Radiohead concert.

For their first encore the group emerged at the back of the room to perform on a small podium, giving time to fans with seats on the other side of the arena. The four gathered around one microphone, while the crowd was admonished by Marcus Mumford to keep quiet as the sound was much softer. New Yorkers could not contain themselves however and as the group played “Reminder” and “Where Are You Now” they were yelled down by catcalls, applause and stomping feet.

The group returned to the main stage for their second encore, inviting openers HAIM and Ben Howard on stage for their rendition of the Band’s “The Weight,” which Mumford & Sons performed on Sunday night’s GRAMMY ceremony during the show’s tribute to Levon Helms. The floor appeared to actually shake with movement as the crowd danced, clapped and stomped along to the spectacle.

-Courtney E. Smith, Radio.com