It has been a whirlwind year or so for singer-songwriter George Ezra. With his single ‘Budapest’ becoming a worldwide hit and his debut album Wanted On Voyage climbing to the top of the charts, the O2 Academy became home to the bluesy singer here in Birmingham. And I couldn’t wait to hear that low, raspy voice fill the main room.
Following his ever-so-energetic support act Raleigh Ritchie (an act I’m sure never tires of jumping around a stage), the stage was set for Ezra’s entrance. Complete with stacked suitcases, several bottles of water and a steaming mug of what I can only presume was a cup of tea, the crowd were ready. And boy, did he deliver.
Opening with singles ‘Cassy O” and ‘Listen to the Man’, Ezra got the crowd singing along in an instant, the first few bars already whisking everyone away from their February blues to blissful summer. This was surely followed up by one of my personal favourite songs, ‘Barcelona’, a lovely moment within the set that caused the entire academy audience to sway in time. With his recent Brit nomination, it was only right that Ezra treat us to his BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge cover of Macy Gray’s ‘I Try’, before breaking into more of his own material.
All Ezra had to do to keep the audience occupied was simply sway with his guitar and sing with a smile, which he did with absolute ease throughout the evening. Something that never fails to astound me is his talent to go from upbeat, folksy tunes such as ‘Benjamin Twine’ and ‘Blame It On Me’ to then pull out the bag a moody, commanding performance of ‘Spectacular Rival’. It had me hanging on his every word and craving more.
His voice is something of wonder – no one, when first hearing anything by George Ezra, expects the voice to match the face at all. Ending his show on a short but sweet encore consisting of ‘Blind Man in Amsterdam’, ‘Song 6’ and fan favourite ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’, I left the venue simply wanting to rewind and watch the entire thing over and over again. That or simply hop on a plane to Budapest and listen to his album in full. Ezra is the epitome of summer time bliss, and if you ever get the chance to see him live, I say jump straight at it – it’s well worth the money.
Check out George’s album, Wanted on Voyage, here.
Words by Kirstie Sutherland