British-born artist George Ezra has secured an impressive spot in the music scene, with his dulcet deep bass tones and humble lyrical persona scoring him No. 1 positions in international charts. The every-man’s musician, Ezra has appealed to wide audiences of fans who adore the artist’s ability to evoke feeling through soft and untainted lyrics. At Ezra’s Hordern Pavilion concert last Thursday, there was no great mystery behind the artist’s music, and whilst such simplicity had its limitations, for many, its emotional humility was cherished in a world fraught with confusion and uncertainty.
Starting the show with the catchy ‘Don’t Matter Now’ from his latest album, Staying at Tamara’s, Ezra and his impressive band energised the audience through an engaging clap-back rhythm. Already powerful over an audience who would intermittently cheer, “Love you George!”, Ezra held their enthusiasm with conversational banter which delved into the travel inspiration for his latest album. Ezra got away with his cliché musician travel trope with his knack for humorous storytelling and wholesome persona, as he affectionately described his “dodgy” plans to house-stay with a woman named Tamara in Barcelona, whose name inspires the title for his latest album. Relaying his anxiety in spontaneously deciding to live with a stranger for a month, Ezra goofily expressed, “Why’ve you done that George?”; which garnered laughter from an audience of fans.
This air of humility carried through the unembellished lyrics and melodies of Ezra’s diverse setlist. While lyrics such as, “hey, pretty shining people, we’re all in this together”, sound cheesy written down, it was impossible not to be transported into an impalpable oasis by Ezra’s feel-good vibes, as his swayed arms and closed eyes evoked a peaceful energy during ‘Pretty Shining People’. In a world so often divided, it was unsurprising that the audience’s mirrored sways found solace in the crowd anthem which praised our shared humanity.
Slower ballads like ‘Song 6’ and ‘Listen to the Man’, from Ezra’s 2014 album, Wanted on Voyage, allowed for more complex emotional resonance in their softer folk pop tones. A beautiful melancholy drifted through ‘Song 6’, as the endless search for the unattainable spoke through the cyclical guitar chords and poignant lyrics, “everybody’s chasing the beauty they don’t have, and I’m chasing you”. Ezra’s deep bass vocals and sole guitar backing were again remedial, as his lullaby-like verse in ‘Listen Man’ consoled all our anxieties; “you don’t need a plan of what you wanna do, won’t you listen to the man who’s loving you?”
These slower ballads were balanced with Ezra’s more upbeat anthems, which rung out the concert on a buzz. Ezra received cheers from the audience, who he teased by introducing his iconic ‘Budapest’ as the song about the city he missed while travelling Europe. Leaving the audience bopping to the folky pop melodies and skilful guitar work of hits ‘Blame it on Me’ and ‘Cassy O’’, like the nice man of the music world that he is, Ezra promised to deliver on the hit we had all been waiting out for. ‘Shotgun’ was delivered in true performer style, as Ezra skipped around the stage charismatically – a visible reflection of the more soulful, yet equally vibrant, energy that Ezra radiated throughout the show.