Queen Margaret Union
It was only a year ago that Herford born singer-songwriter George Ezra released his debut EP Did You Hear The Rain?. Since then, however, his profile has been on the rise. Having played a number of high-profile festival sets over the summer, being placed on numerous Sound of 2014 lists, as well as having a number one album to his name, George Ezra now rounds off a phenomenal year with a string of sold out dates across the country.
The night begins with fellow singer-songwriter Rhodes. Taking to the stage alone with just a guitar, Rhodes’ short set shows off his impressive vocals which are reminiscent of Jeff Buckley at times as he performs highlights from his latest EP Home.
With anticipation building, people in the sold out crowd begin balancing on the stairs and sitting on the back of the seats in order to get a good view of the stage which has a backdrop emblazoned with ‘Ezra’ in huge letters. Coming on to huge cheers, George begins his set with the fast paced ‘Cassy O’ which gets the audience moving straight away.
Throughout the night, Ezra is amicable, humble and ultimately extremely likable. Telling the audience about having the day to look around Glasgow and go to the Botanical Gardens as well as being locked out of the venue earlier on in the evening, he appears exceedingly comfortable on stage. Before going into latest single ‘Blame It On Me’, however, Ezra informs those who were maybe dragged along and aren’t enjoying the performance that they might want to watch the video for this song which sees him in a lot of unfortunate situations. It seems Ezra has nothing to worry about tonight though as the audience take over the vocal duties chanting the lyrics of “What you waiting for? What you waiting for?” straight back to him.
After an emotionally charged performance of the breezy love song ‘Barcelona’, the band exit the stage leaving George alone with the crowd. It’s here that he treats his older fans to stripped back versions of some of his earliest songs including the ballad ‘Benjamin Twine’ which reminisces about a childhood friend and B-side ‘Get Lonely With Me’. Unfortunately, it is also here that George loses some members of the audience and chatter begins to spread.
He pulls it back with a stirring rendition of the beautiful ‘Breakaway’. The biggest cheers of the night are reserved for major hit ‘Budapest’ which closes the set and sees everyone in the audience singing along.
With people chanting and the melody of ‘Budapest’ still echoing around the room, Ezra returns to the stage to rapturous applause. The encore begins with his live lounge cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun’. It’s a cheesy but fantastically enjoyable rendition which sees the audience dancing along and revelling the chance to sing along to a new version of such a classic pop hit.
At times throughout the night it’s hard to believe that the voice echoing around the venue belongs to the 21 year old on stage. His effortlessly bluesy baritone vocals are remarkably captivating, with Ezra managing to fill every song with passion. Nowhere is this clearer than on final song ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ which begins with Ezra’s acapella vocals. Unable to the wait for the band to kick in, the audience begin stamping their feet and clapping in anticipation and lead the song into its escalating intensity with the instrumentals creating a heavy and imposing tone.
With George Ezra only having released one album, it’s an inevitably short set. However, filled with such a variety, it certainly isn’t lacking. With a tour of more sizable venues already sold out for next year, George Ezra appears more than ready for, and deserving of, his continuing success.