The Gentlemen of the Road



Despite a week of rain, an unfortunate delay in the show, and an unseasonably cool night, Son Little, The Maccabees, Mumford & Sons, and the Chicago Blackhawks produced a night worthy of extreme Post Concert Depression this past Friday!

OUTRAGE all over the internet!  People who had flown in for Wednesday night’s concert were understandably upset to find out that the Cricket Hill show would have to be delayed due to weather inspired issues.  It was evident that Mumford & Sons were also disappointed at the way things turned out and they issued a heartfelt apology to fans on their website.  Being the kind lads that they are, they allowed those with Wednesday tickets entry to Friday’s show as well as entry to the Waverly, Iowa Gentlemen of the Road stopover.  


Friday night was a cold one, considering summer was officially right around the corner.  Bundled up and enjoying the company of friends and family, Son Little forged a connection with fans as the crew sorted out some technical issues.  With some expert coordination and the help of some willing onlookers, Son Little had the front section doing a pretty impressive wave!  Son Little, originally from California, kept the attention of the spectators as lead singer Aaron Earl Livingston belted out some soulful jams with his smooth, yet somehow raspy, voice.  Check out Son Little here


In the second slot was The Maccabees, a rock band out of London.  Originally slated to play Thalia Hall on Friday night, it was announced Thursday that anyone with tickets to Thalia Hall would be put on the will call list for Friday night’s event.  Sweet deal!  I had never seen The Maccabees live, but I was instantly converted.  Playing with the fans, the boys got everyone up and dancing with their catchy tunes.  Those complaining of the weather surely forgot their woes during this upbeat set.  The Maccabees will be playing Thalia Hall on October 20th.  If you had a ticket to the original show, it is still valid.  Those of you who don’t have a ticket yet, and are down for a fun night with some kick ass music, can purchase one here


Mumford & Sons, you truly awake my soul.  As one of the most adept bands of this era, Mumford & Sons has produced three albums of pure gold, invented a sound with which they are continually experimenting, started their own touring music festivals, and have a genuine connection with their fans.  The show at Cricket Hill was, according to the band, the biggest stand alone show they have played outside of their mother country.  Walking out and laying a Blackhawks jersey behind him, Marcus shouted, “Isn’t it fucking nice that we all didn’t have plans?!”  While I’m sure many people DID have plans, it was more than worth it to rearrange them to accommodate for the change in dates.  The band thanked fans for being so forgiving of them, considering they were angry about postponing as well.  Marcus continued that, “It’s cool that we get to come together and feel like a team, so thank you very much!”  #TeamMumford all the way!

The show was energetic and without pause.  Armed with extra musicians to play drums, fiddles, and horns, the music was full, dynamic, and crisp!  Ted was absolutely tearing it up on bass, Winston looked like a rock god with his flowing hair and guitar in hand, Ben was jamming on the keyboards, and Marcus was all over the place either on guitar, drums, or purely vocals.  Their new, electrified sound translated beautifully live.  During the first portion of  “Believe,” the band had fans take out their phones and turn on their flashlights, creating the illusion of a mystical starry night. During one of their slower songs, “Dust Bowl Dance,” Marcus took to the drums and sang in the back while smoking a cigarette.  By the end of the song, he had ditched the drums and snagged a mic which he promptly dropped, nay threw, at the end of the song.  Like a mic drop on steroids, the fans went wild for it!  Caught up in the excitement of the crowd and atmosphere, Marcus yelled out, “Isn’t this fucking awesome?!” right in the middle of “Roll Away Your Stone.”  It most certainly was!  It’s normal to see the fans in the font with their hands up and interacting with the band, but literally everyone at the show was dancing, singing, and getting lost in the moment.  The band was playful the entire night.  Towards the end, Marcus forgot the lyrics to the beginning of “Little Lion Man” which was fun for the fans who were able to help out and no judgment was passed. 


Two particularly memorable things happened during the show.  First, the band talked about how there was a parade going on Thursday morning and they figured they should bring the parade to Cricket Hill.  Enter Hjalmarsson with the Stanley Cup along with about 8 other members of the Blackhawks.  Considering Chicago is still in frantic Cup-mode, everyone went mad with excitement!  Things only got better when the Blackhawks had every member of Mumford & Sons drink from Lord Stanley (Ben actually got it dumped on his head, but that works).  I had suspected the Cup might make an appearance even before the jersey was laid out on the stage, but I didn’t think it would be so entertaining!  When all was said and done, Marcus said, “Alright, fuck off lads….this job is weird sometimes” with a huge grin on his face. 


Later in the show, Winston confessed that our city is to blame for their newest album, Wilder Mind.  After playing Lollapalooza in 2013, they bought two new electric guitars at a shop in Chicago which clearly influenced the direction of the album.  According to Winston, “Chicago, it’s your fault.  It’s your fault.”  I ain’t even mad!  We will gladly take the blame for that!

I have seen Mumford & Sons a couple of times before the Cricket Hill show, but damn, those boys are so polite!  They commented on how wicked it was of the concert goers to come early to see Son Little and The Maccabees—“one of the best bands in the last 20 years.”  When the crowd danced and sang along with the guys, they commented that we were “very good people.”  No, you are just a wonderful band that makes everyone happy!  They continually checked in to see how fans were doing, even the ones far up on the hill.  With cries of joy as their answer, Marcus responded, “coo(l).”  At one point, Marcus called the people on the hill “fucking rascals” because he thought they were sitting down.  Upon further investigation, he realized they were standing and proceeded to apologize profusely.  They handed out compliments to everyone—the other bands, the fans, each other, and even the Blackhawks who were “hunks as well.”  At the end of the show, they commented that, “You guys have been unbelievably kind to us, and we love you.”  Right back at you—you’re always welcome in Chicago!

For more photos of Mumford & Sons, click here.

For more photos of Son Little and The Maccabees, click here.

All photos and review by Abby Walter

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