GRAMMY Camp (LA 2013, LA 2014), GRAMMY Signature Schools
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May 24, 2010
When London-based indie rockers Mumford & Sons rolled through Chicago for a sold-out show at the beautiful Lincoln Hall this week, the band invited us into the venue for an amazing GRAMMY SoundChecks event. GRAMMY U members were joined by a group of local high school students and interns from music promotion company Jeff McClusky & Associates, to learn first-hand about the band’s experiences touring both Europe and the United States.
As we gathered outside of Lincoln Hall during the muggy afternoon hours, the meticulous work required to produce Mumford & Sons’ current tour was noticeably evident. In preparation for the night’s concert, the city’s crowded streets were overrun by tour buses and crew members who were already hard at work. The students noticed this presence immediately, and the group’s excitement for the proceeding event continued to build. Soon, we found ourselves heading up the building’s stairwell to its balcony where we would be treated to an intimate performance by the band.
Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford, and Country Winston were greeted by students’ cheers and camera flashes as they walked onstage for their sound check. After each band member tuned their instruments and played a few acoustic songs, they glanced into the balcony as Mumford personally welcomed us to the rehearsal. The band's run-through of their larger-than-life anthems continued with a full band rendition of “Little Lion Man,” a choice that clearly pleased the students as many sang along with its booming chorus. Once satisfied with their sound, the band headed up to the balcony for a Q&A with the students.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the large group that awaited, the band shook hands and personally introduced themselves to the students. The commotion soon settled, however, when discussion of the band’s evolution began. Winston provided the students with a backstory of their relatively quick ascent to the top of the U.K.’s album charts, while Dwane, Lovett and Mumford chimed in with personal observations of American culture. Citing differences in the countries’ sizes while routing a tour as well as the diverse promotional outlets available in each market, Mumford & Sons admitted that some adjustments were necessary in successfully transitioning from their European tour, to their current headlining trek in the United States. When the group was asked about some of their most notable performances, the stories they shared -- the first, from their 2009 appearance at England’s Glastonbury Festival; and the second, a heavily anticipated set at this summer’s Lollapalooza -- proved the band’s relevance on both sides of the Atlantic.
Visibly inspired by the determination and humility displayed by Mumford & Sons as their last questions were answered, the students were invited to gather for a photo with the band. Departing with personal goodbyes and advice for the future, Mumford & Sons walked away from the students having left a lasting impression that will surely be remembered for quite some time.
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