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MUSIC: Mumford & Dawes Electrifies PPAC

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

 

London's Mumford & Sons filled and awed PPAC last night, in a sold-out performance. Photo: prusakolep.

One of the biggest acts in the world right now, London's own Mumford & Sons, headlined a magnificent evening at the legendary Providence Performing Arts Center last night. The stage looked like a scene from a Tim Burton film, with spotlights from every angle shining around an artsy yellow portrait of four horses. Every time I go to the PPAC I feel like I'm in the center of a musical palace—the walls are painted gold with touches of royal blue & red, crimson curtains hang from the rafters and the acoustics are simply mind-shattering. If you haven't been to a concert here yet, you have no idea what you've been missing.

Aaron Embry

First on stage was indie singer-songwriter vet Aaron Embry who has a resume of working with the likes of Elliott Smith, Jane's Addiction, Scott Weiland, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Willie Nelson. He performed in front of the sold out crowd with just him and a guitar, capping off a spectacular set with "When All Is Gone". From the start the audience was very engaged in every song that was played, and Embry did a great job of setting the tone.

Dawes

Dawes from Los Angeles wowed the crowd with their unique brand of rock & roll with Taylor Goldsmith singing lead vocals and strumming a mean six-string, his brother Griffin and his blonde afro pounding on the drums, Wylie Gelber slappin' the bass and Tay Strathairn on the keys. They kicked off their set with "If I Wanted Someone", a fantastic track off of their most recent album, Nothing Is Wrong. They then strolled on through with "Time Spent In Los Angeles", "Fire Away" and "A Little Bit Of Everything" until the unexpected happened.

Providence's favorite son, lead singer/guitarist of Deer Tick and indie rock god John McCauley arrived on the stage with a white guitar and jammed the classic Deer Tick track "Baltimore Blues No.1" with Dawes much to the delight of the people in attendance. Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sons then joined John and Dawes to perform Dawes' "When My Time Comes" with Marcus, John & Taylor alternating on vocal duties ending with an epic standing ovation from the crowd.

Mumford & Sons

By now, the anticipation was about to explode like a powder keg next to a stick of dynamite. Everyone stood up as if they were in church awaiting a sermon, the closest thing to a religious experience I've ever witnessed at a concert. The lights dimmed and Mumford & Sons graced the stage with pandemonium from the audience at an all-time high. Kicking it off with "Lover's Eyes" and then playing their smash hit "Little Lion Man", it was obvious to see that something special was happening before your eyes.

Marcus Mumford's skill on guitar and powerful voice (even playing a few times on the drums) was the backbone for the rest of the band featuring Ben Lovett on the keys, Country Winston Marshall on electric guitar and banjo and Ted Dwane on drums and stand-up bass. Mumford & Sons' played a spectacular set that included "I Gave You All", "Timshel", "White Blank Page", "Thistle & Weeds", "Below My Feet", "I Will Wait" and "The Lover Of The Light" off of their second upcoming album, Babel, that's due to be released on September 24th. They left the crowd wanting more, a flurry of handclapping filled the room like a bunch of rabid animals craving another morsel.

Mumford & Sons came back with a three song encore consisting of "Where Are You Now?", Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" and "The Cave" with Mumford breaking a string on his guitar but still acing the track with brilliance and grace. The yellow horses in the background changed to an opaque white and the show was over. A fantastic evening of lovely music, next time you hear about one of your favorite bands playing the Providence Performing Arts Center you have no choice but to go. It'll be a time you'll never forget.

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