10/06/2012 05:07 BST | Updated 12/06/2012 06:43 BST

Ed Sheeran Review: The First Act To Really Rock RockNess

Ed Sheeran's popularity bemuses many. What is it about this red-headed acoustic singer-songwriter that has cut him loose from his indie niche and burst him into the mainstream?

There are plenty of people gigging with similar talents to his, but his debut album + been certified quadruple- platinum in the UK and scooped him two BRIT Awards and an Ivor Novello.

This unlikely superstar bounced onto RockNess's Golden Voice Arena stage on Friday night in a simple blue T-shirt and jeans, to give a performance that has garnered the most intense crowd reaction so far at the Scottish music festival.

He may not have been on the main stage like Mumford & Sons, but the audience knew every single word of his set and screamed for more, which is more than can be said the British folk band's set.

Kicking off his gig with the emotional Give Me Love and a frantic guitar-strumming session that drove the crowd wild, he shouted: "You guys can be my gospel choir", before splitting them down the middle to "sing as loud as [they] can".

There was little light within the huge dark blue tent that resembled a circus arena, but fans sat upon sturdier friends' shoulders and children that looked as young as five were lifted by their parents to see the pop star who has captured a nation's heart in just one year.

A highly-confident performer, Sheeran put an upbeat twist on his album track Drunk and had the whole tent filming the act with their camera phones, a sight that I've not witnessed yet at RockNess.

As he kicked off Grade 8 , he had the adoring audience clapping along, before chanting "put your lighter up", a line from hip-hop Queen Lil' Kim's song. The way Sheeran transcends the singer-songwriter genre by bringing in influences of R&B is partly what sets him apart from the rest, and when he was joined on stage by urban artist Wretch 32, while spitting the lyrics of You Need Me, I Don't Need You at an incredible speed, it was obvious this lad has many strings to his musical bow.

He spent at least 10 minutes working the crowd, teaching them warm-up exercises and pretending that we were in West Side Story to see which 'gang' could shout the loudest.

He thanked his fans for buying his record, a record which they knew every note of, made evident when he performed his biggest hits so far The A Team and Lego House, plus his new single, the heartbreaking but catchy Small Bump. There was whistling, screaming and all round euphoria for young Ed from Halifax, those 312 gigs he did in just one year, back in 2009, have sure paid off.

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RockNess 2012