Live at the Eden Project, Cornwall on 02.07.2010
Lovely. The most appropriate way to describe this year’s batch of Eden Sessions. Organised to the tiniest detail the gigs are very polite and well, lovely. This year the Sessions have diversified and each night is loosely grouped into genre, but tonight’s combination of Mumford & Sons and Doves is a little uneasy.
Mumford & Sons have risen to mainstream fame since forming in 2007, reaffirming that waistcoats, beards and banjos are where it’s at. Still peddling their album ‘Sigh No More’, they also play new tracks tonight. ‘Nothing Is Written’ starts off slow and melancholy but the crowd are clapping along from the word go, and when it kicks in fully they erupt becoming a sea of jumping bodies. There is something resembling a small barn dance in the middle of the audience, a party which continues for the rest of the night. Another new song, ‘Lover of the Light’, has a tone full of optimism and hope, perfect on this clear evening. The new material is not a departure from the expected Mumford sound but there is a maturity in the arrangement and lyrics which shows growth.
The band capture and keep the audience’s attention with every song, full of energy and enthusiasm and audience also goes crazy for favourites like ‘Timshel’, ‘Feel The Tide Turning’, ‘Little Lion Man’, finishing with ‘The Cave’ before leaving everyone screaming for more.
Doves have some hard work to do: When the gig was announced Mumford & Sons were still emerging and Doves, with their solid following and previous storming set at the Eden Sessions in 2002, were a steadfast finishing band. And although the crowd is still up for it when they take the stage, it is clear that many are Doves virgins.
The band grab the audience well to start; Jimi Goodwin’s memorable voice and the moody and atmospheric music is the perfect soundtrack for the sun setting over the stunning Eden Project scenery. The band have worked hard on this ‘greatest hits’ tour and put on a good show with dramatic visuals including some interesting videos, my favourite being the ‘hoodies’ filmed for Black and White Town. The band relies heavily on the crowd being right there with them and affectionately coining the audience ‘Edeonions’, Goodwin manages to gain friends in most of them, especially when he offers to pay any council fines if the sound techs cranked up the volume.
Although transfixed by songs like Kingdom of Rust and The Cedar Room, the audience wander during lesser known songs. However, an encore is called for and those leaving to try and beat the traffic miss out big time. There is a new energy to the band, and the audience, and the party is at last starting as the band play out with the ecstatic Space Face from the band’s previous incarnation Sub Sub. Although Mumford & Sons and Doves turn out to be uneasy bedfellows, Doves’ experience shows through in their triumphant finish. I just wish they played their set in reverse.