Whether or not festivalgoers realized it, Austin City Limits Fest 2016 gave attendees exactly what they needed by closing the first of two weekends with a two-hour headlining set from Mumford & Sons. The the British rock act brought a set that combined varying genres and sentiments, exciting visuals and more to make it impossible for the crowd to feel too sad about the three-day festival's first weekend officially ending.
Check out the six reasons why M&S were the perfect act to close ACL 2016 and don't miss all of Fuse's on-the-ground coverage from the festival here.
1. They're Now Bringing Arena-Ready Rock
Mumford & Sons' latest album Wilder Mind was released just as 2015's festival season began and it marked their first record to ditch the banjos and dive into full-fledged rock. With more than a year to marinate, the No. 1 album is now proving to be perfect for a festival like ACL as the show feels even bigger than it would when they kept things strictly folk-rock. The band kicked things off on the right note, opening with the racing Wilder Mind cut "Snake Eyes" while other highlights including exciting performances of "Tompkins Square Park," "Ditmas" and the LP's title track.
2. They're Still Folky
Austin is one of the south's most famous cities and the Texas crowd was ready to break it down to some banjos. There were big cheers for M&S staple "Little Lion Man," meanwhile 2010 single "The Cave" inspired a full-crowd hoedown. If you haven't been digging the band's rock turn, they still brought their original folk sound for the OG fans.
3. There Are Chill Moments Too
A major highlight came during the performance of "Ghosts That We Knew" where the guys slowed things down for a little to give a gorgeous rendition of the Babel cut that came accompanied with a fiddle solo by touring violinist Tom Hobden. So, just in case you needed a break after a banjo breakdown, M&S made sure you got some rest time, which speaks to how much variety their set brought.
4. They Have One of the Coolest Light Shows
Mumford & Sons brought a ton of pyrotechnics and cool lighting effects that created the best light show of the festival. The band included strobe lights and sparklers into their set that made for some of the most stunning lighting we saw all weekend--even better than the EDM acts whose light show is so integral to their show.
5. Mumford Himself Keeps You Watching
Marcus Mumford isn't your typical frontman as one always wants to know what the singer's next move will be. Throughout the set, the singer/guitarist jumped into the pit and ran past fans reaching for him against the barricades, and later played drums for "Dust Bowl Dance."
6. They End With a Hit and a New Song
"I Will Wait" was M&S' breakout hit and everyone in the crowd was waiting to hear it. Of course, the guys didn't disappoint and played their signature track as the penultimate song. But (!) the band wasn't going to rest on that. Instead, they closed the festival with "The Wolf," the second single from Wilder Mind that has yet to chart in America but instead sees the band focusing on their future instead of their past. In an age where so many acts are headliners thanks to their past glory (we're looking at you, LCD Soundsystem), Mumford & Sons is focused on the future.
Watch a classic festival interview with Mumford & Sons below: