Gentlemen Of The Road Festival Stopovers are organized by Mumford & Sons, so it's fitting that seemingly 98% of festival attendees are there for them, and the other bands are kind of an afterthought. When they took the stage Saturday night and played for over two hours, Mumford & Sons more than justified the buzz generated by their presence in Waverly. They played great, with spirited performances of both the hits and album cuts, and they did an intimate acoustic/near- a cappella set. Marcus Mumford talked to the audience (estimated at over 15,000) in the convivial manner we always hope for from our favorite bands. It was a wonderful set, even if you didn't subscribe to Mumfordmania.
The Maccabees gained new fans this past weekend thanks the unwavering support of Marcus Mumford. Mumford surprised the fans by joining The Maccabees for a couple of songs at the end of their set earlier on Saturday. Mumford made a comment remarking on how it's a shame that Americans haven't recognized or concentrated on the musical achievements of The Maccabees.
Other noteworthy acts of Saturday included Jenny Lewis who played many tracks from her latest album, "The Voyager", while drinking hot wine on stage. Annakalmia Traver of Rubblebucket put on a tireless performance that left the audience dancing with the exuberant band.
Preceding Mumford & Sons on Saturday, The Flaming Lips played for exactly an hour, treating us to their patented circus act-with-music. Dancing mushrooms and giant caterpillar/butterflies, lots and lots of confetti and balloons, and of course Wayne Coyne crowd-surfing and singing in a giant plastic bubble. The Lips played some of their best songs, including the opener "Fight Test","The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" and big closer "Do You Realize?". Every human needs to see a Flaming Lips show at least once!
Studio One's favorite set of GOTR was the My Morning Jacket performance. They were the Friday night headliners, playing for an hour and a half (but no encore!) and mesmerizing the crowd with songs from the new album The Waterfall and older favorites, including a couple of New Basement Tapes songs (one of Jim James' many side projects). We're sure there were Mumford-ites in the audience who had no knowledge of My Morning Jacket. One hopes they left with an appreciation for this fine band.
My Morning Jacket were preceded on Friday by the California band Dawes, making their second Iowa appearance in two years (they were at last year's 80/35 festival). Their set got off to a rocky start, when lead vocalist and guitarist Taylor Goldsmith appeared to have been shocked by the microphone. He recovered quickly, though, and the band ripped through a set consisting mostly of tunes from the newest Dawes album All Your Favorite Bands. Goldsmith later joined My Morning Jacket during their set, along with Blake Mills, for the aforementioned New Basement Tapes songs.
Some of our favorite Iowa bands performed on Thursday night, which unfortunately we were unable to attend. We hope you'll check out their Studio One performances below.
Have a listen below to our unfiltered, unedited comments on the Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover, recorded on Tony's smartphone at the festival.