Lots of young Brit folk in Alexandria VA last night – unfortunately the venue was barely a 1/3 full. The bill was a three act stunner. Starting out with Mumford & Sons for a jolly 30 minute set — a very fun foursome. They are an engaging group of lively young guys who seem to get a big kick out of singing their songs as we got from listening to them.

The second act was Johnny Flynn. An amazingly talented musician with a great band in support – Johnny played no fewer than 4 instruments including his wonderful vocal abilities. I suspect he has soul of elderly bluesman from a previous life. Had to pick up his CD A Larum after and love it already.

Finally, Laura Marling (subject of my July 25 entry) played a gorgeous set. I knew about her lovely voice but for some reason, I didn’t really focus on her talent as a guitarist (probably because I’ve seen little video of her in performance). I was alternately mesmerized by her fingers as well as her face. I get the feeling she is a rather shy person so I hope performing isn’t too much of a struggle for her. Her backing band was excellent (including Marcus Mumford on drums, other instruments and vocals) and the rapport was fun including a giggle fit at the beginning of the last song Alas I Cannot Swim. I would have loved to hear Typical and New Romantic but that’s just my personal preference.

My one picky note about the whole evening had to do with the sound levels at the Birchmere. It was a little loud for me. I had hoped not to need earplugs but since my ears are quite sensitive I found it to be just a bit wince making. It’s unfortunate that I suffer from tinnitus and loud sound levels really aggravate it. I was lucky in that I thought to bring my iPod with in-the-ear headphones and I could use them as an impromptu earplugs – just took the edge off the sound and I could enjoy everything without wincing or worrying. I hope I didn’t look rude wearing headphones to a concert – I really was listening!! ( I guess that’s just TMI on me or what!)

I wish I had thought to take my camera but I completely missed that one. Here is are videos from YouTube from all the acts so you can a feeling for the experience.

Mumford & Sons

Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit

Laura Marling

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