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Mumford & Sons Close Out The Park In Style

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The Phoenix Park Summer Fest came to a close yesterday and thankfully was a far more resounding success than last year. It was fitting so that we should be sent on the road by the very Gentlemen Of The Road, Mumford & Sons. The first dramatic difference between the two days of the weekend gigs was how much Sunday was a Mumford event. Entering the venue, the crowd was presented with all of the hoarding and props associated with their standalone shows, to the point that even Heineken lost their branding to a simple “Beer” branding in the vintage Mumford style.
The vast different between nights was most evident in the fact that Mumford were supported by bands with some relevance to the main event. Ham Sandwich kicked of proceedings, native bands always providing that bit of a nod and a wink to satisfy the home crowd. Next up came the off kilter country sound of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a band deserving of a much bigger awareness. London group The Vaccines provided a good contrast to the main act whilst staying relevant but the early highlight of the day was Ben Howard. I’ll admit that I’ve been meaning to give him a listen for some time but laziness got in the way, but I’d nearly recommend those newcomers see him live before going near any recorded music. A great show from him and his band and the perfect prep for Mumford.

And then, just a little over time after 9pm, the biggest quartet in music right now took the stage. Blasting into the title track from their new album “Babel”, each member of the group had a massive grin on their faces that didn’t leave for the two hour duration. They love what they do, and they let you know it. Mumford fall into that minority of acts who are being somewhat more genuine when they mention their love for Ireland, with them having a long history here. Well they showed every last ounce of that appreciation. Highlights are too many to mention with a performance of this magnitude but “Thistle and Weed” did stand out some more above the rest for its sheer power; also managing to pull of “Timshel” in all its intimate glory to fifty thousand was a stellar achievement.

The fan favourite “The Cave” initially wrapped up the night, but Marcus Mumford then invited the day’s support acts back on stage for an impromptu rendition of “Galway Girl” and, love it or hate it, it was a brilliant gesture to finish off the show and with a promise of “See you next year”, they were gone. In all the Phoenix Park Summer Fest has been a much more pleasant success this time around and left us all with an appetite for what MCD can conjure up for next summer. If only every weekend were like this.

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