Live at First Direct Arena on Saturday, 12th December 2015
Last Saturday, 12th December, Mumford and Sons made a very welcome trip to First Direct Arena.
Before they graced the stage Jack Garratt made an appearance who is a breath of fresh air amongst current mediocre pop. As a one man band he has drumsticks in one hand, the other on the keyboard and from time to time he mixes it up with an electric guitar. He has yet to even release his debut album (due in February) but a huge fan base turned out early to come and sing along.
The most beautiful and talented voice erupts from him as he mixes R n B bases with electro-acoustic sounds. Slightly disappointing was that during the slower, quieter ones the crowd seemed oblivious to him wooing us. However his voice really shone through to those listening, creating an almost magical feel. His vocal range was clearly showcased in his cover of Disclosure's Latch. Already this year he has been on the receiving end of BBC Music's Introducing Series award and is already 2016's Brits critics' choice award winner. If you're a fan of mixing ghetto and electro tunes then he is definitely one to look out for.
In huge contrast to Garratt's musical mastery, working all of the instruments at the same time Mumford and Sons then came onto the stage. Before the lights came on the atmosphere was built up with soft sounds, red lights, then the pace quickened before the whole stage lit up. So many focal points and it was straight away clear why they sell out arenas because of their polished performances. The crowd went wild for 'I will wait', with everyone enjoying the traditional folk inspired tunes. Most recently they have moved away from the original sound that made them famous, a controversial decision by the fans. Listening to the crowd murmurs it was clear that there was a preference for the old.
As well as wowing the crowd with their impressive musical talent they entered into a bit of banter with the crowd, listing the various places they have gigged at. From the Packhorse to the Cockpit to the Brudenell they have really grown as a band and now selling out the arena. Marcus Mumford leads the band and presents every song with feeling. During 'Lover of the light' he took to the drums alongside another drum kit, which I have never seen before. An amazing crashing of symbols and beats bounced around the arena. Another amazing moment was when the band covered Bruce Springsteen. Everyone in the crowd were fixated on them.
One of the most impressive parts of the whole gig were the array of instruments. Marcus Mumford showcased his talents from start to finish whether it be stunning vocals, guitar skills, to knocking down the drums. From Ben hopping from the piano to keyboards he was an impressive feat to observe. At one point he threw the stool from underneath him showcasing impressive piano skills. Ted Dwane impressed throughout on the double bass. An unfamiliar scene on stage, yet he clearly knows what he is doing. This was then supported by Winston Marshall on the banjo.
The boys clearly know how to perform and know how to deliver. It will be interesting to see where 2016 takes them musically. More of the change, or will they revert back to the traditional?