One look at this line up and you know you are in for a treat. Mumford & Sons are renowned for taking their support act slots very seriously, and here is no exception. Three of England’s finest folk bands together on one night, what more could you ask for? Ok, maybe four, but that would just be greedy! Matthew and the Atlas provided a perfect start to the evening’s entertainment. Arriving onstage with no distracting ceremony or sense of grandeur, almost like the audience had been invited to a band practice! Gentle and fascinating, the London five piece execute perfectly crafted songs with quiet confidence, mixing ethereal harmonies and rich accordion tones for a beautiful end result. The live act far surpasses any recording I have heard, which speaks volumes as the various EPs are divine in themselves. Listening to Within the Rose, a track from their forthcoming EP, is as emotive and intimate as any performance can be at such a venue. The combination of a hugely talented singer supported by an equally talented, and multi instrumental, band is a recipe for success! But the room seemed to be waiting for Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, almost as much as the headline act! Mere mention of the name drew cheers and screams from the crowd, so it came as no surprise that the six piece collective were warmly welcomed. Multi instrumental is the theme of the evening, with Flynn alone playing 6 separate instruments, including quick changes between guitar and trumpet in one single song. At such a young age, impressive does not go far enough to explain the talent on stage. Blending old favourites and tracks from the latest album, Flynn oozed confidence and experience to completely win over the, admittedly smitten, audience. Originating from the same collective that brought you Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale and Mumford & Sons themselves, the similarity in tone, lyrical quality and self-assurance comes as no surprise. Flynn fills the room with rousing melodies and profound lyrics. Even “Hong Kong Cemetery”, seemingly slow and melancholic, was performed with such gusto and screamed accompaniment that it would inspire and astound even the most lacklustre individual. Expectations are already high for the next band. With their meteoric rise to the mainstream, Mercury Music Prize nomination and two brilliant support acts already played, the bar has certainly been set high for Mumford & Sons. As a small army of technicians swarm the stage, it is clear to see that this tour is a progression for the band. A leap into the big time, signalled by intricate lighting setups and larger stage areas. The band starts the set with the usual “Sigh No More”, as beautiful an opener as could be expected, creating a sing-a-long atmosphere that would last the evening. Tonight, the audience is the fifth son. The set produces hit after radio friendly hit. Songs such as “The Cave” and “Winter Winds” are firm favourites of the avid Mumford & Sons fan but, tonight, they are given an extra something. Whether it is an unexpected change in arrangement, as occurs at the climax of “Winter Winds”, or just a case of intense passion in the live performance, the stage show is like nothing you have heard in a recording. This includes the banter each band member attempts over the course of the night. From Winston and Ben’s bad jokes, both food based oddly enough, to discussions about comedy at the Apollo (referring to the Hammersmith Apollo, however, as opposed to the Manchester Apollo we were currently in). The banter presents the band as charming and genuine, like a local band made good in the world of mainstream music. These boys, and all the acts featured this evening, provide a refreshing alternative to the typical “boys in band”, see Pete Doherty etc. “We should just play a fucking song. So we are going to play a fucking song”, declared Mr Mumford, bringing an end to the charming banter and an eruption of cheers at the opening chords of “Little Lion Man”. If you have seen Mumford & Sons over the festival period, you will have heard their new offerings. “Lover of the Light” already seems to be a fan favourite, with Marcus taking to the drums, beating out the passion of the rockier sound. Potential showing of future singles? The progression from the first song they ever wrote as a band, “Feel the Tide”, to the new, as yet untitled track charts the development of the band musically, whilst showing their loyalty to their indie folk roots. The new song was performed “because it felt right” that night which, when accompanied by the three false starts, approximately thirty seconds of play, before it was abandoned, shows insight into the fallibility and human nature of the band. It made their offerings all the more personal, as we had been allowed to enter into a private space. The highlight of the evening has got to be the encore. The band announced they were going to do something a little special, much to the delight of the audience. Silence was requested by Mr Mumford, and duly given, as the boys stepped towards the edge of the stage. The electricity-less performance of “Sister” was something that will remain with every member of the audience. Beautiful harmonies boom out from the stage, propelled only by the boys’ power of voice and strength. Never have I seen a single band, one group of four men, bring a previously boisterous audience to absolute silence. It produced something that was both eerie and beautiful. The night has produced three bands seemingly under the same generic term, yet producing something unique and different with each performance. If this is the state of British music that is entering the mainstream, then British popular music is truly saved.