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Mumford & Sons feat. Baaba Maal at Philharmonie de Paris

You leave a band on a sunny afternoon in front of a small venue, and next thing you know, they’re playing stadiums. Last time we were with Mumford & Sons, they were playing La Flèche d’Or in Paris. We had fun serenading a woman on her balcony with a French rendition of one of their songs. They were fresh, friendly, sweet and talented. Little (or maybe not so little) did they know, everything about to change for them. Everything was about to get big, quickly.

Skip to 2016, and Mumford & Sons now have as many vans full of gear as members in the band. They have roadies who ready everything for them at soundcheck. They tour with a chef. They play regularly to over 3000 people (minimum), and yet… here they are, fooling around with us again.

We are inside an empty Philharmonie de Paris (we wanted to play on the rooftop but the weather didn’t feel the same way). The Mumford’s slick, well-oiled road crew arrive early to ready the stage and I start to feel nervous about Marcus and his Sons arrival. When a band gets big so suddenly, you can’t help but worry that the pressure of fame can make a group lose their sense of humour. Thankfully, as soon as they started playing I knew it wasn’t the case. They played, and played and played, like kids on a school break. They played loud. They played well. And even if the song they sang wasn’t as tongue-in-cheek as the one they played for us a few years ago, I was genuinely moved by the joyful power of their music – the same feeling I had when we first met them. Marcus sang so loud that he had to stop before he hurt his voice.

Before leaving, however, he asked us if he could come back later in the afternoon with Bill Ryder-Jones, who was opening for them at the Zénith that night. Imagine if they did a Take Away Show together? (To be continued…)

Very special thanks to Thomas for his proof-reading and corrections.