George Ezra at The Academy, Dublin, 13th October 2014
A 21-year-old with a number one album – it’s usually too easy to resent this kind of youthful success.
In the case of someone as talented and unpretentious as George Ezra though, it’s a struggle. Kicking off another European tour (and no stranger to this fair isle) George returned for a date in the Academy last Monday, and we were there to check it out.
Taking the stage to deafening applause, the singer-songwriter modestly announces that, “I’m George Ezra and this is my band. We’re going to play a few songs.” This sets the tone for the night, a very casual no-frills affair, with nothing detracting from either the songs or the voice at hand.
First up is Cassy-O, a lively song with a looping chorus and a hint of a Johnny Cash influence. Ezra’s bass notes shake the room and his falsetto impresses just as much.
The vocals on display here are absolutely stunning. There’s something very unique about the way Ezra physically sings, giving him a truly unforgettable vocal tone. Close your eyes at certain moments and you’ll start to question if you’re listening to a 20-something English chap, or a 50-year-old female American gospel singer.
Ezra’s band fill out his sound quite well, but when they take a break and leave him solo for a few songs, he really shines.
Benjamin Twine is a fantastic moment in the night, where you really see him standout as a storyteller, rather than just another singer-songwriter.
In its recorded form, Leaving It Up to You features a choir, something that obviously didn’t fit in the tour budget. But after the sheer volume of the crowd during the song, the chorus in particular, Ezra jokes “Forget the choir, I’ll just you bring you guys on tour”.
Being his biggest track to date, Budapest of course gets the biggest reaction. The highlight of the night for us though is Breakaway. There’s something different about his approach to this song, something more genuine – it makes for a beautiful shoe-gaze moment, bringing the crowd to an atypical hush.
There’s something simple about George Ezra that’s refreshing. The man is a raconteur with a killer voice and no time for gimmicks. His show may be basic, but it’s a near-perfect rendering of his recorded sound.