Mumford & Sons - Standon Hoedown

posted 6 Oct 2009, 07:08 by The Editor   [ updated 6 Oct 2009, 07:23 ]

Standon - Hertfordshire
5th October 2009

by Leanda Newlyn

Marcus Mumford
related that whilst ‘on the road’ recently during their tour, he saw a tiny island across the water one day and thought it would be a great place to play a gig, but they’d have to take the crowd with them. He also said the best gig they ever did was in a barn for a wedding. Two ideas, one melting pot, and how to launch their first album evolved into a Hoedown in a barn, and the offer to ship ticket holders out from London to the countryside. 

Luckily for me this barn happened to be in Standon in Herts, close to where I live. Having heard much about Mumford & Sons (on, R1 Zane Lowe, MySpace and a few forums) I bought my ticket and received instructions on how to get there by car. Pitch-black, deserted single track lanes and unclear instructions, only added to sense of anticipation and discovery. 

Once I found the venue the excitement was palpable, overheard "look it's a real barn with hay and everything " "it's really authentic".  I would have been disappointed if it hadn't been. After all, it's in a real barn in the sticks .The staff dressed as country boys & gals, a straw strewn bar and very decent looking organic bbq'd burgers. Bales of straw served as seats around edges once inside, and the barn floor is also strewn in hay, lots of cider (rather fittingly) being drunk. 

The band clambered through the audience to get onto the makeshift stage, and opened with incredible harmonies on "Sigh No More" and the fun began. "Little Lion Man", "The Cave" and "Winter Winds" followed. All belted out and received with much enthusiasm. 

Marcus then informed us we were ‘off the clock’ and he was going to invite some friends onstage to do some covers. Laura Marling was first up with a fantastic rendition of "Jolene". Chris Pollard (tonight’s sound engineer) and Pete Roe (Musician and tonight roadie and guitar man) came up for Springsteen's "Oh Mary – Don’t You Weep".

King Charles then came up for a couple of raucous songs, he had more energy than the whole barn and inspired much dancing and moshing (at a folk gig – honest!) and the band interchanged instruments so many times it was chaotic, energetic and rather impressive. 

Mumford & Sons then brought the set to a triumphant close with a new song - "Whispers in the Dark" and ending with "Feel The Tide" and "Where is My Heart". The crowd baying for more, we were invited to stay and party and learn some barn dancing. Inevitably most made for the bar and to mingle with the musicians. 

Overall fantastic evening, I would definitely go and see them again. 

8 / 10