They’ve become an easy band to dislike have Mumford & Sons and although State arrives at the O2 tonight with a reasonably open mind, we know someone with a more hipster orientated outlook would look down their nose at the predominantly plaid clad punters. It would, it turns out, be their loss.
It seems that there’s nothing like banjo, double bass and perfect harmonies to get a crowd rallied. Opening with the title track from Babel, the band stomp, jam and belt out the likes of ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Little Lion Man’. When the pace slows (as with the beautiful ‘Lover Of The Light’) the crowd take it as an excuse to chat, snap and tag photos, but when they play the hits they command full attention. The O2 can often consume bands, leaving them deserted on the big stage or else drowned by set designs, props, bells and whistles. Mumford & Sons find the happy medium, keeping the staging simple and it seems that whether playing to packed out arenas, Glastonbury veterans or to the few lucky revellers in Toner’s on Arthur’s Day, they’re born entertainers.
They never falter – playing all the big releases and even a cover of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ at the end, joined by support act Dawes – a lovely display of true musician camaraderie as they share the stage and lines from the song, to pull off an epic finale. Mumford & Sons have taken us (and a lot of people) by surprise. A band you never planned on liking; mandolins and denim shirted men just not being your cup of tea. And yet here they are five years on from the release of their first EP, a band propelled to popularity, playing to the masses and it’s hard to begrudge them. These unasuming gentlemen look set to be on the road for a while, mocking us for ever doubting that folk was the new black.
Photo: Paulo Gonçalves. See more here.