17:56 Wednesday 19 December 2012

Big arenas hold no fears for Mumford

Written byJAMES BRINDLE

Mumford And Sons - Birmingham LG Arena

AFTER just receiving six Grammy nominations and having seen their second album become one of the fastest selling of the year,Mumford and Sons don’t need my praise — but get it they shall.

Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons

One of Britain’s most successful exports are currently touring the UK on their first arena tour, something the band admitted to the crowd in Birmingham was somewhat of a worry.

They did not want to lose the warmth and intimacy of their live shows by making the leap to the big stages, but such is their ever-increasing popularity, it had to be done.

They needn’t have worried though, as the band’s stunning show at the LG Arena attested as they left the sell-out crowd in raptures and with smiles etched across their faces.

What stood out from their performance in Birmingham was their determination to give their fans a proper value for money night out, as well as the allinclusive nature of the show.

Two top support bands in Post War Years and Dawes began proceedings before the comedy magician Piff the Magic Dragon entertained the crowds as the stage crew prepared for the headline acts arrival on the stage behind.

Later on in the night both Dawes and Piff joined theMumford boys on stage for a stirring version of Awake My Soul before the American band returned again for a thrilling and unexpected closing rendition of Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends which was a fitting finale.

Before that, Mumford performed songs from new album Babel and debut Sigh No More with pulsating energy and charisma that was truly infectious.

Critics will say the new record treads a well-worn path but why change such a winning formula that produces such lifeaffirming results? Of the new material, new single Lover Of The Light was undoubtedly a highlight and for me the band’s greatest moment to date, while I WillWait was a big crowd pleaser.

The night’s only disappointment was the missing favourites from Babel, most noticeably Broken Crown which is again one ofMumford’s finest moments.

Sigh No More, though, produced some timeless classics and they were all present and correct and such is the affection to which they are held the response to each was euphoric.

Little Lion Man, Winter Winds, Roll Away Your Stone and arguably the band’s signature hit The Cave were all received like old friends — and were delivered with the sort of gusto you might expect from a fledgling act, with no sign of weariness.

I can think of few bands around today that could create a live show quite so much fun as Mumford and Sons did in Birmingham and long may their incredible and deserved worldwide success continue.

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