Mumford & Sons recently announced that they'd plug in their guitars for their upcoming LP Wilder Mind, and the folk band-turned-arena rockers brought their new electric sound to Saturday Night Live with a pair of new album singles, "The Wolf" and "Believe." From the opening moments after host Taraji P. Henson's introduction, it was immediately clear this wasn't the Mumfords of Babel, as the band's trademark banjos and accordions were replaced by the loud squeal of distortion and feedback.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Marcus Mumford explained why the group – like Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – went electric. "We felt that doing the same thing, or the same instrumentation again, just wasn't for us," says frontman Marcus Mumford. "We've got a broader taste in music than just that." Added Mumford bassist Ted Dwane, "None of us had really any interest in doing a sort of Babel 2. It was always going to be different."
The band will showcase their new album at a handful of festival-headlining appearances this summer, including stops at Bonnaroo, Reading and Leeds and San Francisco's Outside Lands. Mumford & Sons will also host their own Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Shows, with the band staging two-day festivals in cities like Seaside Heights, New Jersey and Walla Walla, Washington.
Mumford & Sons' electrifying performance wasn't the only musical highlight on SNL: In one sketch, cast members and Henson skewered the new animated film Home, which features the voices of Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. For SNL's "sneak peek" at Home 2, Dreamworks is adding "more hip-hop than you can handle." That means top-notch impressions like Jay Pharoah's "Kendrick Lamar," Henson's "Nicki Minaj" and Kenan Thompson's "Rick Ross."