words and photos by Peter Nicholson.
In all honesty, this wasn’t a gig that I was particularly excited about. Despite it being at my favourite venue, The Brook, Southampton, I suspected it would simply be an artist with an acoustic guitar, playing a short, forty-five-minute set. However, and for those of you who don’t always read reviews in their entirety, I’ll get to the point. I should have been looking forward to it!
The gig was another outstore event which sees major artists touring the country to play smaller venues in support of independent record shops. This one was organised by Vinilo Record Store in Southampton.
Marcus Mumford took to the stage in front of a packed house at the Brook for the second time that day. He had already played to another packed house at the afternoon show. He didn’t look too happy at first, but this was all part of his stagecraft. He then gave a wry smile and complained about having just been beaten at FIFA by one of the tour crew, and to being in a foul mood. His smile continued and the audience were immediately in the palm of his hand.
The whole feel of the show was different to usual. There was very little use of the impressive sound and lights at The Brook. Simple stage lighting, brighter than usual room lights and a simple amp at the back of the stage. The audience fell silent as soon as he started to play. Marcus was clearly enjoying the intimate vibe of the gig – something he told everyone that he’d missed over the last couple of years. This tour was to promote his debut solo album but he treated the crowd to a real mix of songs.
Halfway thought the set, he told the crowd that he liked to “play around” at these shows (I’ve cleaned up the language a little here!) and as he’d had a lovely day exploring Southampton, he felt like he was on his “Holi-bobs”! The light-hearted section continued as he covered Taylor Swift’s Cowboy Like Me, which went down superbly.
His skill at drawing the crowd through his set was further demonstrated when he then tackled the subject of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. The silent room was obviously moved by the honesty and bravery of the lyrics. With a few Mumford & Sons favourites thrown in, and a final song without any amplification was a perfect end to a very brief, but extremely enjoyable gig.
In a nutshell: I’m really glad I went!
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