It's hard to think of a band that's been so heavily vilified over such a short period of time as Mumford & Sons. Even perennial doormats like Nickelback and Coldplay were given a pass for an album or two, but almost from the moment the Sons' debut album, Sigh No More was released, they've been slagged by fellow musicians (Mark E. Smith of the Fall compared them to Ernst & Young) as well as critics and the general population.
Their crimes? Adopting a faux working-class stance (all four are apparently from well-to-do families), appropriating the trappings of folk music with little attention to the craft, inspiring bands like the Lumineers and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and a host of others that say "Hey!" a lot in their songs, and -- perhaps most egregiously -- not paying their dues.
I don't care about most of that (I do hate the Lumineers, however). None of this should matter if the band can bring it live. Mocking their upbringings or earnestness or choice of attire is well and good, but can be easily refuted by a bravura performance. Unfortunately, I'm not prepared to make that case, because from where I was standing one significant member of the band didn't have his head fully in the game last night.
I'm looking at you, Marcus Mumford.