VH1 Mumford & Sons Unplugged NYC Review

By Laura McWhorter

I could’ve grown old with them. I could’ve sat there for the next 50 years listening to Marcus Mumford and his loyal band of Sons harmonize to ‘Sigh No More’ from ten feet in front of me. While that was not considered a viable option by the lovely people of VH1, what I did get what almost as good – six songs (seven if you count the reshoot), one hour, where the rest of the world just fell to the way side and myself and 19 other lucky people were treated to the closest thing to musical perfection we’ll ever see.

When I walked into the studio (situated snugly in Spanish Harlem) to see the VH1 taping of Mumford & Sons: Unplugged I was only half-serious when I joked about it all being a big plot to kidnap hipsters. But when I heard them sound checking ‘The Cave’ during my pre-taping bathroom break my mind was set at ease. After everyone was seated and peptalks were given, the boys took the floor. That’s when I forgot my name…

Set in front of a modest backdrop of ropes and Christmas lights, Mumford & Sons kicked off the show with a stunningly understated performance of ‘Sigh No More’. Oh man, was I a giddy thing (see what I did there?). Ben, Country Winston and Ted brought their A game on the piano, banjo and bass respectively while Marcus led the way on guitar and percussion. How that man does both so flawlessly AND sings I’ll never know. The crowd bounced and stamped along during ‘Roll Away Your Stone’ and melted as if on cue from the show managers during a heart-wrenching ‘White Blank Page’. The real treat of the show was the Starburst ‘Contradictions Track’ where the boys were asked to cover a song that people would find unexpected. While Ben teased us with the idea of a Britney Spears track, the cover of ‘England’ by The National that followed was something from another world or time or something – it was too incredible to be real. Fortunately, Marcus broke a string and we got it hear it twice. They wrapped the show with crowd favorites ‘The Cave’ and ‘Little Lion Man,’ and much to our dismay, did not honor our request for an encore.

The performance put on by these four kids from England, while far too short, was truly breath taking. The quality of the musicianship is, in my opinion, unparalleled and to see it in such an intimate setting was nothing less than impressive. They put on a fantastic show and did a great job of interacting with the crowd and making what could be an awkwardly intimate occasion quite relaxed and fun. The show airs in June on VH1 so keep a look out. When you hear a stupid fan screaming like a little girl? That’d be me. Nice to meet you.

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