George Ezra could be mistaken for just an ordinary young man. But he has a miraculous trick up his sleeve that makes him stand head and shoulders above the crowd: when he takes to the stage and opens his mouth to sing, his voice has an absolutely staggering power. The moment he launches into bluesy pop of Cassy O’- all smiles abound – there is an instant magic in the air and it becomes clear what all the fuss has been about. It might be a wet, gloomy night outside, but within these venue walls, the crowd is being transported across Europe via soulful, folk-blues songs.
Ezra’s sold-out, one-off show at the Electric Brixton is part of BRITs week. After the success of his debut album Wanted On Voyage, Ezra has found himself up for four awards. There seem to be more British male singer-songwriters around the place than ever, with Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran leading the way in dominating global sales, but Ezra can more than hold his own with a deep, heartfelt soul that seeps through every aspect of the set.
It’s not only the singles that get the best reaction from the crowd; each song is received in a similarly excitable fashion and just about every word is thrown back at the stage. Wanted On Voyage is a great album on record, yet when the songs are performed live, they really come into their own and shine with a different hue. No one was left simply waiting around for Budapest; the beautiful Barcelona feels more fully formed as its shimmering guitars twinkle and ring out over the crowd, whilst Spectacular Rival has an intriguing darkness around it that reveals Ezra to be capable of performing a set of contrasting moods. This one is all the more interesting for it.
But the most intense moment of the show comes in the form of the mighty Did You Hear The Rain? The unaccompanied opening lines send shivers up spines, and for that moment, the entire venue falls silent as it is brought under the spell cast by Ezra’s booming blues vocal. As he howls out “Did I send shivers down your spine?/ Well I do it all the time/ It’s a little trick of mine,” there are the signs of a man who is not only in total control, but knows exactly the effect he is having on everyone in the room. Reasonably, he appears to be absolutely loving it.