Marcus Mumford, SWG3, Glasgow ***
With his band Mumford & Sons taking a breather from banjos and arenas, frontman Marcus Mumford appeared to be thoroughly enjoying a return to rammed, sweaty, intimate venues on this tour to promote his solo album, Self-Titled, free as he was to josh around with his band, conduct a rendition of Happy Birthday for his guitar tech, ponder the politics of telling a Billy Connolly joke on his home turf and pledge to “f*** around” with the performance.
In the end, however, he opted for an organised structure, opening with a couple of solo Mumfords renditions (Awake My Soul and The Cave from debut album Sigh No More) as a warm-up before running through his solo album in order and in its entirety. Although less obviously folk-rooted than Mumford & Sons, his solo music is no great stylistic leap, involving quasi-anthemic flourishes and distorted guitar to add some cosmetic interest to some pretty standard songs.
An Elvis Costello/Nick Lowe-style croon stood out, as did a fuzzy glam-tinged stomp, although Mumford’s mild vocals weren't a match for the heavier tone, and the track lost focus when it diverted to a meandering jam.
Self-titled is stuffed with guest writers and singers. In the absence of Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers and Julia Michaels, however, Mumford pulled up singer Monica Martin to reprise her close harmony duet turn on the underwhelming Go In Light, while singer/songwriter Madison Cunningham, in town for her own show, took on the role of Bridgers on Stonecatcher.
With the promotional business out the way, Mumford played about more with the encore, covering Taylor Swift’s Cowboy Like Me with a twang and appealing for quiet to sing Mumfords’ favourite I Will Wait off mic accompanied by the gentle hum of the audience singing along, awaiting permission for a full-throated singalong.