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Mumford & Sons

When he returned to the stage for an encore on Saturday night, Marcus Mumford smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow and then, if only for a brief moment, stared out in amazement at the thousands still occupying Hutchinson Field at the south end of Chicago's Grant Park. The fans were there for his band, Mumford & Sons, and also eager to be a part of history as one of the decade's most successful bands headlined Lollapalooza for the first time. "We're so grateful to you, Lollapalooza," Mumford professed, before easing into "Lovers' Eyes," a soothing hymnal off the London foursome’s Grammy-winning second album, Babel. "You really have been one of the most gracious crowds we've ever played to," he added.

It was not the first time the folk-rockers played Lollapalooza: In 2010, Mumford & Sons, which includes keyboardist Ben Lovett, banjoist Winston Marshall and bassist Ted Dwane, were fresh off the success of their debut album, Sigh No More; they played a 12-song set with the sun still shining in the late-afternoon sky. But Saturday's gig was of a completely different scale. In just under two hours, the Americana-influenced outfit, now with Dwane healthy again after a successful brain surgery that forced the band to cancel a Bonnaroo gig ("Ted's alive! Yes!" Mumford joked), strummed, plucked and elegantly harmonized their way through 18 choice cuts. Mumford pulled double-duty on standout "Lover of the Light," beginning the Babel rocker armed with his trusty Martin D-28 acoustic guitar, before hopping up onto the drum riser and finishing the song slapping the skins behind the kit as coincidental fireworks exploded in the distance.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/mumford-sons-graduate-to-the-main-stage-at-lollapalooza-20130804#ixzz2b4CzlQfY Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

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