Anyone who has been suffering Mumford & Sons-related banjo and waistcoat withdrawal symptoms is directed to their frontman Marcus Mumford’s recently released solo album, Self-Titled – as close as you will get to their rousing folk pop until such a time as the band reconvenes.
Musically, there is nothing to scare the horses in this solo incarnation though lyrically Mumford opens up about childhood abuse and seeking help. As if to counter the heaviness of some of the subject matter, his solo tour is a relatively informal and upbeat affair with some in-joke joshing with his band members and warm words for his special guests, Monica Martin (of US indie folk band PHOX) and Californian singer/songwriter Madison Cunningham, handily playing her own gig in Glasgow on the same night and free to scoot across town to lend a vocal and guitar part or two.
A chronological rendition of the album forms the centrepiece of the set. While none of the songs are spectacular, there is sonic interest and dynamism baked into the show – periodic epic crescendos, some effects-laden guitar, low-slung basslines, mournful piano parts and some bare acoustic moments.
Having delivered the album in its entirety in getting-to-know-you fashion, Mumford is free to indulge in some encore fun with a cover of Taylor Swift’s Cowboy Like Me and a couple of numbers by The New Basement Tapes, his rootsy supergroup also featuring Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, who formed to set newly uncovered Bob Dylan lyrics to music – in the case of Kansas City, this consists of an inoffensive country pop tune.
The show is bookended by what is almost certainly the main attraction for most in the room – solo takes on Mumford & Sons’ favourites The Cave and Awake My Soul to kick things off and an unamplified version of I Will Wait to finish.