The Bowery Presents
Mumford & Sons: The Full English Tour

Mumford & Sons: The Full English Tour

The Vaccines, Bear's Den

Wed, August 28, 2013

Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm

Forest Hills Stadium (Queens)

Forest Hills (Not Flushing), NY

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Register right now at invitation.mumfordandsons.com – then keep your fingers crossed for an email invite. It’s a simple process and the most effective way we’ve found to ensure the real fans get in and the ticket scalpers stay out. Registration closes on 3rd July and invites will be sent out from 8th July.

Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons
“We wanted to do something unashamed,” says Ben Lovett. “We’re confident and happy to be where we are as a band — everything that’s happened with us has exceeded expectations, and it’s all been a surprise, it’s all much bigger than what we were prepared for. So when we came to recording this record we had a choice: to shy away from that, or to realize that people dig what we’re doing, and make something robust, with that energy.”

It was December 2010, and Mumford and Sons had been on the road since the previous summer: a glorious, eventful, yet relentless time. Standing somewhere between exhilarated and exhausted, the plan now was for the band’s four members to spend a few weeks apart, write, recuperate, and then reconvene in Nashville in the New Year, with the intention of trying out material for their second album.

The informality of the set-up in Tennessee perhaps helped to dispel any nerves they may have had about following up 2009’s Sigh No More — an album that had gone four times platinum in the UK, and twice platinum in the US. The band assembled in the front room of a house and set about sharing the songs they had been working on alone. “It was a coming together, a sharing of some stuff,” explains Lovett (keys, accordion, drums), “a pool of ideas that would come out of our time apart. So if there was nervousness, it wasn’t nervousness about the record, it was nervousness about how a couple of these new song ideas would go down. But we knew we were going to play music, and it wasn’t time to get into the nuts and bolts of it, it was more like we were starting another year from this point. And that felt very good. Very fresh, and natural.”

Out of that time in Nashville came a couple of songs for the new record — the gorgeous Lovers’ Eyes and Hopeless Wanderer. Then followed more touring, performances at the Grammys and the Brits, before the chance came in the summer to head into a studio in Bermondsey, south London. Here the band recorded the title song for the soundtrack to Wuthering Heights, as well as finding the footings for several of the new album’s songs: Babel, I Will Wait, Not With Haste, Broken Crown, Lover of the Light.

“And then,” recalls Marcus Mumford (lead vocals, guitar, drums), “we went down to a farm in Somerset and played the 10 song game, which is where you have to write 10 songs each in a set period of time without any criteria for quality.” The result of the 10 song game, the band recall with some amusement, was firstly that Ted Dwane (string bass, drums, guitar) has a natural propensity for writing murder ballads, and secondly a new album track named Reminder.

“It’s such a nice exercise because it removes your focus on perfection,” says Dwane. “You drop your guard down and you sort of bash about.” For Mumford, it also helped to re-focus to the material already amassed. “There were various points in the album where we felt maybe we needed to inject more directness, and maybe that’s what Reminder did,” he says. “There’s a bit more obscurity in this album and Reminder is a really emotionally identifiable song. I think I Will Wait was the same. And in terms of making the best record we could we felt like we needed those songs.”

2011 took shape slowly — throughout that year they were establishing the album’s “cornerstone songs”, discussing the new material with producer Markus Dravs — who had also steered Sigh No More (“He’s like a mind master,” says Lovett) and engineer Robin Baynton (“He has the best ears,” says Mumford “but he’ll never sacrifice vibe for accuracy”) finding more writing and studio time wherever their schedule would allow. But more importantly they were trying to work out just what kind of record they were making. “I don’t think any of us had any idea then about what we were trying to do,” says Lovett, frankly. “We had a body of songs and we just really wanted to record them. And we thought that was all you needed. But we learned that wasn’t quite the case.”

Shortly before Christmas, they decided to stand back and take stock of what they had, heading down to Lovett’s parents’ home in Devon for a review of the new material. “And that’s really where we had the vision for the album,” says Mumford, “or where it solidified.” “We were suddenly really confident and happy with what we were making,” adds Dwane. “We were all on-site, all pistols firing. I think the album started to assert its own identity a little bit, it started to make sense, and we knew then what we were making.”

Babel’s identity Dwane describes as simply “Very us. When we made the first album it was to be a snapshot of Mumford & Sons in 2009. This is exactly the same — but it’s us now, and there’s a lot of the live energy in there — that was very much what we were trying to capture. Creating the album over the course of a year, going into the studio then back out touring, then back into the studio … it’s almost as if the road has rubbed off on the album.”

The influence of the phenomenal live band Mumford & Sons have become is much in evidence on Babel, from the fire and fury of the title track to the keen and tender yearning of the album’s closer, Not With Haste. “I think over the past few years we’ve realised how much we have to play the songs that we’ve recorded,” says Mumford. “So we thought harder about these songs, feeling confident that we could play them again and again and again, and that however you record a song gives it its own life.”

As a result, several songs on Babel were recorded live. “When you’re in a room with headphones and microphones and no one else, you play it quite differently to how you play it live,” says Mumford. “Having played live as much as we have these past five years, it’s probably made us a bit more high-octane, a bit more adrenaline-filled, but because of that we probably also need to counter it more. But we really wanted to allow permission for quiet songs on the album, so that we could allow permission for them live as well.”

More than anything, there is a real a sense of completeness to Babel, a satisfying wholeness and a kind of musical and lyrical wealth — romanticism tempered by strength and vigour; a brawniness balanced by beauty. “I think there’s more subject-matter on this album, and I think we’ve grown up a little bit,” says Mumford. “I feel like it’s more exposed, more naked. Ted always talked about wanting to make an album like a story,” he adds. “Not necessarily one that has a plot, but one that you can listen from top to bottom and it makes sense. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do, and what we’ve done.”

Winston concludes, “And now we’ve finished it we can get touring again, which is what we set out to do when we started the band. Back to business.”
The Vaccines
The Vaccines
Soon after the release of the debut album, "What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?," Justin Young and his band-mates wrote a track named Teenage Icon. "I'm no teenage icon/I'm no Frankie Avalon," it says. "I'm not magnetic or mythical/I'm suburban and typical."

The song is now the centrepiece of The Vaccines' second album, set for release just 18 months after that March 2011 debut. But if Justin and co still feel "suburban and typical", they certainly don't seem it. To look at them in their latest incarnation; longhaired, denim-clad, more confident than before, is to see a proper gang of four: Young plus bassist Arni Arnason, guitarist Freddie Cowan and drummer Pete Robertson. Teenage icons -- whether they like it or not.

"The biggest headfuck of all is the fact that people have an opinion of me as a human being -- not as a singer or songwriter, but as a human being," says Young, musing on the point. "It's so weird to think of people talking negatively about me or even hero-worshipping. A year ago I could have met said people in the pub and become friends with them but they'll already have an opinion of me now before we meet..."

But a lot can happen in a year. Formed in West London in 2010, The Vaccines were selling out venues nationwide by December. They released their debut the following spring and have since released two standalone singles, three EPs, a live album and the forthcoming follow-up album "The Vaccines Come Of Age."

"What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?" propelled the band into the spotlight -- going platinum by the end of the year -- and saw them end 2011 with two headline shows at London's Brixton Academy. By the spring of 2012 the band had amassed awards (including an NME award for 'Best New Artist'), nominations (including at the Brits), 3 NME covers, 6 straight Radio 1 A-list singles and a sold-out a run of U.K. seaside arena shows.

It's a rocket-fuelled rise that's left critics and cynics eating their words, even if those words have stuck with the band. "When we first started talking to the press, I think we were quite timid," says Young. "We were being forced to defend ourselves because it was happening so quickly for us. I think people were suspicious. We're so confident in what we do though. And we turned the hypothetical situation into something real. We won."

The attitude shift came at 2011's summer festivals. "We'd done festivals all around the world and not really at home. 46 I think," says Young. "I remember saying to our tour manager backstage at our first UK festival, is there anyone out there? He just said, Listen! And I could hear about 20,000 people chanting our name. It felt bigger than anything anyone could say."

While everything was falling into place, however, Justin's future as a singer was in jeopardy. He developed hemorrhaging on his vocal chords, requiring surgery three times last year. "It was cruel, but life is like that," says Young, who was left unable to speak for three weeks and sing for five after each operation, resorting to using flash cards saying 'yes', 'no' and 'I can't speak'. "Emotionally and socially, that was quite an interesting experiment. I spent my first date with my girlfriend communicating with a notepad. It still scares the shit out of me though -- if I take it too far on a night out or I get a bit too overexcited in a show, I know it may be my last. The silver lining is my voice has more character as a result. I think that's where the softness on the new record comes from."

If anything, the experience has put even more wind in the band's sails. Young and his band mates collected over 150 songs during 2011, written in hotel rooms from Tokyo to New York and Sydney. If The Vaccines's work rate seems unusually high, note that they don't judge themselves against their contemporaries; they judge themselves against the prolific pop groups of the past. It's one reason why they found themselves recording "...Come Of Age" live. Some tracks were cut in just one take. "You think back to when people were paying for two or three hours in the studio. It was, OK -- go!" says Young. ''Bands make records and then work out how to play them. We wanted to do it the other way round. It feels purer.''

Producer Ethan Johns was the man charged with capturing lightning in a bottle. "He felt like an old-fashioned producer -- an instiller of confidence," says Young. "He only cares that it sounds exciting. The songs were only ever finished when he said the hairs on his arms were standing up."

They recorded in Belgium and Bath, stopping to play in Brazil, at Coachella and in New York. In Belgium they worked solidly, breaking only for one night out (they went to a gay bowling night, FYI). At the studio, there were banks of guitars and amps available but Young chose to use his own axe -- a cheap Danelectro he bought on Denmark Street for £180. Like his songs, it's honest, sturdy and deceptively simple.

The album shows the band's songwriting and performance entering a new phase. If the debut was them finding a sound somewhere between The Ramones, Jesus & Mary Chain and The Strokes, the latest, says Young, is them striving to "sound like The Vaccines. We needed to work out which characteristics are going to make people compare bands to The Vaccines in five or ten years time. It's quite a searching record in that sense." It means there's a spotlight thrown on Cowan's 50s influenced guitars, Robertson's pounding drums and Arnason's pulsing basslines.

Highlights include the groove-driven "Bad Mood," the timeless "Lonely World" and the new wave-influenced "Aftershave Ocean," one of the more recent tracks that hint at where The Vaccines may head in the future.

The title -- "The Vaccines Come Of Age" -- is tongue-in-cheek, but only a little. "It's a lyric from the album's first single, which is how we named 'What Did You Expect...,' and it continues the theme of having the band's name in the title," explains Young. "Then there's the whole coming of age thing. The lyric is "it's hard to come of age," and that thought ties together the record. I'm bang in the middle of my 20s and I'm finding it to be quite a difficult place to be. You're expected to know what you want to do and who you want to be at this point, but I don't know who I am yet. Everyone I know is in a different place -- some have it all figured out, some have bad problems, some are parents, some are living with their parents, some are earning money, some are broke. I guess I still feel like I'm a kid. Recently I've found myself realising that a lot of my favourite music is no longer talking to me, but people younger than me. And that is a strange realisation."

On the album sleeve, The Vaccines really are kids: it sees the four band members replaced by four androgynous, teenage girls. "People said The Vaccines don't look like rock stars, so we thought, OK, have these girls instead. I wanted them to look androgynous. You can't tell who they are. They're at a time in their lives when they probably don't know either. And of course they're a gang," says Young. One of the four stand-ins, who have appeared in The Vaccines' videos too, will appear on the cover of each of the singles from "...Come Of Age," and the B-side will be written and sung by the individual band member represented on the sleeve.

Though they may claim not be teenage icons, The Vaccines have reset their expectations for this album. "I want to mean something to somebody," says Young. "I want to keep getting better and better, and if bigger and bigger is a by-product of that, then that's fucking awesome. Quite simply, I want us to be your favourite band."
Bear's Den
Bear's Den
"Without/Within," the sophomore EP from critically acclaimed British trio Bear's Den will be released March 4, 2014, via Communion Records.

Ian Grimble (Travis, Manic Street Preachers) produced "Without/Within." Of the new music Andrew Davie (vocals, guitar) notes, "The songs were in many ways our most personal yet and also our most ambitious sonically. Joey's playing is particularly beautiful to me and his guitar and banjo melodies carry the songs so perfectly at times. Kev was experimenting more with synth bass and piano on top of drums before anyone else even picked anything up. I was experimenting for the first time in my life really on electric guitar and with delayed and reversed guitar loops. We all had our own responsibilities within this record and we all had complete belief and trust in each other. We wanted to push ourselves so that we could grow into the songs on the road and hopefully push ourselves to become a better live band because of it."

"Without/Within" follows the band's 2013 U.S. debut "Agape" (ag-ah'-pay), which received widespread praise -- New York Times T Magazine premiered the title track and the band was featured on NPR's "World Café." Since the release of "Agape," Bear's Den embarked on a massive three-month tour of the U.S., Australia and Europe including support slots with Mumford & Sons, Daughter and Matt Corby.

Davie, Joey Haynes (vocals, banjo) and Kevin Jones (vocals, drums) make up Bear's Den. The London-based trio played music in various incarnations before officially forming the band in 2012. They developed a cult following in their short existence as a result of their writing, harmonies, D.I.Y. approach with custom hand-stamped CDs, and extensive touring. It was only after finding their identity on the road that the band focused their attention on studio recordings.
Venue Information:
Forest Hills Stadium (Queens)
Forest Hills, NY (Not Flushing)
Forest Hills (Not Flushing), NY, 11375