After Mumford & Sons' incredible headlining performance at Glastonbury, their second album's sales have increased by a whopping 400% safely securing "Babel" back to the Number One spot in the album charts. Even as a non-die-hard fan, their performance at the festival compelled me get a ticket to their next live show at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Summer Stampede, a one day festival, had a lineup handpicked by Mumford & Sons which included Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Vampire Weekend, Bear's Den, Haim, and Ben Howard.
Ben Lovett, Mumford's Keyboard player, at one point during their performance shouted "Were any of you lot at Glastonbury last weekend? It was a very pleasant experience... [but] you guys are s***t loads better than that gig ever was." Erm...I have to disagree. The Olympic Park audience seemed pretty chilled out or even complacent. After a long, sweaty walk to the venue, I arrived to find most people lying on the plastic grass, many lying asleep in the sunshine. There was barely a toe-tap in sight. It was a beautiful day and it was pretty relaxing, but how can that compare to Glastonbury?
Ben Howard put on an amazing performance but most of the audience treated it like a pleasant backdrop to a casual drink with friends. There was, of course, the passionate minority who sang and bounced along but it there was some real atmosphere lacking. The crowd of 60,000 also seemed pretty stagnant when American rock band, Vampire Weekend, took to the stage which is pretty challenging when "Cousins" is blasting from the speakers. Maybe it was just from where we were standing, but even the group next to us commented on the flat audience.
The overexcited crowd during Vampire Weekend's performance
The sleepy crowd then leapt to their feet in the minutes before Mumford came on. The stage then erupted when they opened with "Babel". The atmosphere really picked up, and so was I by one of my strong male friends. Yes, I was one of those people. At this point all the negatives were forgotten and I happily danced above with a number of others. One of my highlights was when they played "I Will Wait" (although probably not so much for my poor friend beneath me). The band closed with a cover of my all-time favourite, Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain". For this finale, true to their usual style, they brought back their supporting pals to join in.
Getting on people's shoulders is underrated. Unless you're behind them.
Moaning aside, it was still an amazing performance by all. Maybe they just prefer a relaxed family-friendly crowd? Or maybe I would agree with them if it wasn't for the long queues, over-priced drinks and the transport issues to and from the venue. One thing is for sure, Mumford & Sons are going from strength to strength. I also can't wait to try their new ale, Lewes Stopover Brew, which will be launched at their Lewes festival stop on the 19th of July. The two day festival includes the likes of Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines, Mystery Jets and Johnny Flynn And The Sussex With. Predictions for Mumford's closing cover next time, anyone?
A blurry, but beautiful scene at the Olympic Park
Check out Mumford and Son's new video for Babel here: