George Ezra + Lily Moore @ o2 Academy, 4 April 2018

George Ezra first blasted onto our airwaves with hit ‘Budapest.’ To say the song was everywhere would be an understatement; seemingly penetrating each radio station for months upon months, the tune was a massive hit. Since then George Ezra has become a household name. With new album Staying at Tamara’s Ezra continued being the master storyteller, filling songs with joy and purpose. At a sold out O2 Academy George Ezra played a wistful, gleeful show that warmed our hearts and made us forget the world for just a short time.

Up and coming bluesy singer songwriter Lily Moore was first to take the stage. It is hard to dismiss the comparison between Lily and Amy Winehouse; her sultry voice, deep tunes and bluesy sway make her and the late Winehouse seem like long lost soul sisters. That being said Lily is very much her own artist. In the opening slot Lily wowed fans with tunes like ‘Walking Away,” ’17,’ and ‘Not that Special.’ While her time on stage was short her talents are boundless, fueling the excitement for the night ahead.

After a jolly intro Ezra burst onto the stage. Surrounded by an impressive band Ezra launched into energy filled ‘Cassy O’ and ‘Get Away.’ Mixing in older tunes with the new album, the opening tunes fueled the room with excitable energy that was hard to contain. Crooning ‘Barcelona,’ with its island breeze airy sound, found the crowd swaying softly but singing loudly. The lull in tempo was flipped as ‘Don’t Matter Now’ blasted through the speakers. The song from the most recent album maintains the simple structure found in previous songs, allowing Ezras bombastic voice to soar into each corner of the room.

In between each song Ezra chats to the audience, letting us in to each purpose behind the song. It is this jovial warmth that mitigates the separation between George and his fans. Fans are not there to just catch a show; rather they are transported in a familial quality to Ezra’s life. George is not just a man on stage; he’s our best friend, the teller of jokes and stories. A handful of new tunes comes through, ‘Pretty Shinning People’ finds fans bopping along, screaming out the chorus and laughing along, while stunning ‘Hold My Girl’ bring a sense of tranquil peace to the room.

Balancing more tranquil moments with moments of pure energy, Ezra moves into ‘Shotgun,’ ‘Paradise,’ ‘All My Love,’ and ‘Listen to the Man.’ With each song the backing band lends exquisite sonic elements, blending rock skewed drums with pop keys and a brass section that was truly one of the best. The band adds an extra element of mystique to the gig, an element that elevates Ezra’s already transformative recordings.

Creating an ethereal dreamscape with sound and lights, Ezra ends with ‘Saviour,’ ‘Blame It On Me,’ and ‘Song 6.’ After a short interlude the band wanders back onto stage. Ezra opens the encore with a bit of a surprise, adding in a cover of Rudimental’s ‘These Days.’ Bathed in blue and purple light the song is transformed into a wandering milieu of bluesy perfection. ‘Leaving it Up To You’ and ‘Budapest’ round out the night.

In a world often tinged by hardships George Ezra offers a bright light; creating music that is light and bubbly while still holding on to truth, Ezra has masterfully balanced the ability to be a modern day storyteller. With his stage show Ezra brings this sage ability and punctuates it with a genuine authenticity that is warm and enduring. At the O2 Academy Ezra wowed the sold out crowd, creating an atmosphere that was transcendently beautiful.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

Photographer: Ian Dunn

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