Beyond the Books

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Friday, June 10, 2011 11:18 a.m.

Mumford and Sons, doused in folk at Merriweather

"Country" Winston Marshall, Ted Dwane, Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett rocked a soggy Merriweather show June 9. Pictured here in 2009, the band has gained popularity in the United States with their hit, "Little Lion Man." Photo used under Creative Commons License.

Typical rock stars don’t bang their heads and stomp on stage to the tune of a banjo, cello, fiddle and horn section. Then again, Mumford and Sons aren’t typical rock stars.

As opening band Matthew and the Atlas strummed into their third song, a downpour drenched the crowd, followed by lightening, thunder and the weather’s own finale of hail at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Thursday.

A sopping wet crowd made its way back from hiding under tents and trees to watch Rhode Island band The Low Anthem take the stage. Unusual instruments seemed a theme of the night as the band incorporated a clarinet, banjo and horns on stage.

The skies cleared as Mumford and Sons came on around 9:30 p.m. The members played musical chairs with instruments. As the stage lights darkened, front man Marcus Mumford would exit center stage, reappear behind drums then pop up for the next song with an acoustic guitar, all while singing along. The band incorporated a three-person horn section, accordion, keyboard, cello, fiddle, banjo and various percussion instruments into their performance.

The sold-out crowd of over 19,000 people were used by the band as what Mumford called “guinea pigs” to test out new songs they have been writing. The band has been touring the U.S. since April, including spots at Coachella, the Wakarusa Festival in Arkansas and the Beale Street Music Festival in Tennessee.

Mumford and Sons will play to another sold-out crowd at Bonnaroo on June 11, the first of their final eight shows in the U.S., all of which have sold out.

The band says they plan to return to the studio after their tour ends to record and produce a new album by the end of 2011.