The love the Recording Academy has for Mumford & Sons goes nicely with their massive album sales over the last year. Leading the way with six nominations, out of all of tonight’s performers, the band drew some of the biggest pre-Grammy hype, thanks to the smash success of Babel and the hoards of extended family members emailing you to see if you’ve listened to this Mumford guy and his sons.
After performing alongside the Avett Brothers and, oh yeah, Bob Dylan, two years ago, tonight’s prime-time gig sought to put anyone who should dare to doubt the legitimacy–and sheer force–of this English foursome on notice. They were carefree and humorous on the red carpet–as if they weren’t about to be introduced by Captain Jack Sparrow himself–yet brought an intensity that woke up the otherwise sleepy live show. Mumford didn’t need any assistance this time around, aside from a generous introduction from Johnny Depp.
The “sublime” group delivered a rousing and emotional rendition of “I Will Wait,” illuminated by back lights that rose in intensity with each held chord and Marcus growl. There was no choreography–aside from an adaptation of head-banging that rocked all the way down to the knees–and no gimmicks (sorry, fun.). In what so far has been a speedy rehashing of the last year in music, Mumford’s live set took time to recognize true artistry. It was a moment so powerful, even Taylor Swift momentarily forgot she was a hip-hop fan. And we know that the T-Swizzle endorsement can go a long way.