Air Canada Centre, Toronto - October 25, 2011

JASON MacNEIL, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:23 AM ET

TORONTO - Welcome to the last genre sweeping the musical landscape: arena folk.

British folk rock band Mumford and Sons went from an acclaimed national act in 2009 to currently playing hockey rinks like Toronto's Air Canada Centre Tuesday night.

But not just playing them, close to filling them at least on this evening.

Having wrung every last conceivable drop of touring behind their 2009 debut Sigh No More, the West London quartet sprinkled a few new songs from a planned 2012 studio album into their almost two-hour show that opened with huge cheers before a note of the show-starting Feel The Tide Turning was played before the pleasing Roll Away Your Stone.

Stating it was one of the biggest shows they've done, the huge sing-along/lovefest continued with a lovely little Celtic lullaby Winter Winds as Ben Lovett and “Country” Winston Marshall played accordion and banjo, respectively. And Mumford soaked up the loud harmonies during the end of White Blank Page, taking out his ear monitors to hear the love.

Given the response to each of the numbers, it might have been difficult for the Mumford and Sons to stay grounded yet they did on the slow-building toe-tapper Below My Feet. Here all four could be seen stomping the stage with lead singer Marcus Mumford (who vocally resembles Dave Matthews) using a kick drum to keep things flowing.

“Somebody said to us, 'Why the f--k aren't you playing in Canada?” Mumford said, adding he thought most would be sick of seeing them out on the road.

Apparently not so as the warm, folksy Nothing Is Written soared with some on the floor arm in arm dancing in circles. And with patio lights dangling from the rafters to illuminate those on the floor for the rousing, uplifting Arcade Fire-ish Little Lion Man, the group was more than capable of pulling off a mammoth kitchen party.

“Thank you so much,” Mumford said afterwards, clearly thrilled by the admiration.

The only strange thing about the evening was how a drum kit remained empty for half the set before Lover Of The Light had Mumford behind the skins. Sadly the tune came off a bit forced and busy, like a folk Coldplay. Or Folkplay.

After a short but sweet Dance Dance Dance, the group delved into Awake My Soul as the Canadian maple leaf on Marshall's dobro got much applause and the closing moment stirred the crowd yet again. Even a slight miscue mid-song which had the band chuckling couldn't break the momentum.

Perhaps the only number which didn't quite come off as expected was Broken Crown, a somewhat darker, moodier tune the audience never settled into. What they did cozy up to instantly was a jazz-tinged, swinging Dust Bowl Dance which concluded the 90-minute set.

“Have fun, have fun, have fun,” Mumford said near the end of the night before The Cave. Judging by the previous two hours both band and fans were certainly doing just that.


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