George Ezra @ Resort World Arena, 17 March 2019

An array of generations pooled around the Resort World gates, anxiously chattering away before the opening of the arena doors. Little did they realize they were in for a transformative night filled with elated pop hits and gleeful ballads.

On the docket is rising pop sensation Sigrid. With an alluring mixture of 80s tinged pop and reverberating base toned beats Sigrid is bringing something refreshing and new to the pop genre. Headlining is the effervescent George Ezra. Ezra is no stranger to our Birmingham Live team. We’ve been graced by his electric presence when he took over the O2 Academy in both 2018 and 2015. Continuing his electrifying and joy infused shows Ezra took to Resort World Arena and, paired with Sigrid, delivered a stand out night.

Sigrid was up first! The Norwegian electro pop artists rose to fame with hit single ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ in 2017 and the recent release of album Sucker Punch the 22 year old is quickly making her presence known in the pop world. In a cool, casual vibe Sigrid followed her band onto the stage, melodic atmospheric trance single ‘Sucker Punch’ floating through the air. The sound, a bouncy electronic pop anthem, found Sigrid ecstatically bounding around the stage with a sort of unhindered enthusiasm. It is heart-warming to see a pop star perform in such an authentic, unbridled fashion, a promising start for the young star.

Continuing with the atmospheric 80s electro pop tune ‘Mine Right Now’ was followed by cinematic ‘High Five,’ the beautiful gritty texture of Sigrid’s vocals playing against the titillating sonic elements. The mood shifted as dreamy mid tempo ‘Business Dinners’ floated through. A display of the range of sound Sigrid can produce, the song retains its signature explosion of sonic patterns but does so in a sophisticated manner. A clear favourite amongst fans ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ has everyone singing along. A ballad breaks the pop explosion, ‘Level Up’ bringing a nice breathy sweet sound to the stage. The lull doesn’t last long, as pop explosion ‘Don’t Feel Like Crying’ has fans dancing in the aisles. Sigrid rounds out her incredible little opening set with climatic pop ‘Never Mine’ and bombastic ‘Strangers,’ a double punch of pop that perfectly closes the high energy set.

Bringing a raw authenticity and energy to the stage Sigrid is the next evolution of pop princess. The perfect performer to get the crowd going Sigrid wowed fans, no doubt we are looking forward to her headlining gig in early December.

Up next was the main attraction, the insanely likeable musical storyteller George Ezra. Ezra is a bit of a contradiction himself, a gleeful immediately friendly human juxtaposed by a deep resonating base baritone voice. His ability to tell stories in a short three-minute song is unparalleled, his music transporting you to different cities and different stories. Tonight, we are all welcomed into the living room of Tamara, the Barcelona house owner where he infamously gained inspiration for recently released album Staying At Tamara’s. The sophomoric album comes alive as the stage is dressed in living room furnishings; Ezra inviting us into his world, an immersive show that brings the album and the artist to life.

The new man in black, sorry Johnny Cash, Ezra saunters on to the stage as the sweet notes from his impressive brass section float around the room. Flooding the room with energy, bluesy pop infused ‘Don’t Matter Now’ opens the night. With unbridled glee both Ezra and fans smile wide as the song filters through, the crowd is into it and so is Ezra. Pop rock ‘Get Away’ bathes the stage in waves of sound, a youthful glee mirroring the fanciful backdrops. In a typical Ezra fashion a story precedes ‘Barcelona.’ A tale of his travelling journeys it is clear that like songwriters of old, Ezra pulls from his array of experiences to curate expansive tunes. Tempered in tone ‘Barcelona’ highlights the incredible texture and tone of Ezra’s booming voice.

The crowd goes wild as ‘Pretty Shinning People’ fades in, the crowd filling in as the backing vocals. Ezra’s insanely impressive band, complete with an incredible brass section, intros ‘Listen To the Man;’ a sort of pop polka blues tune, ‘Listen To the Man’ not only displays the evolution of sound for Ezra but also shows off his impressive touring family. In cinematic fashion ‘Saviour’ shifts the mood of the night. The quick rhythm juxtaposed by Ezra’s elongated vocals brings a tinge of danger and mystery to the set, clouding the shiny pop tunes with a bit of grit that is breathtaking and time stopping. The great display of Ezra’s voice continues as rock ‘Did You Hear the Rain’ bathes the crowd in a blue hue.

The energy lull doesn’t last long as ‘Paradise’ brings a festival like freedom and energy to the set. Light and airy ‘Song 6’ infuses the room with a sort of dreamscape atmosphere, the lights dancing across the eager fans faces revealing massive smiles. Love ballad ‘Hold My Girl’ is followed by playful ‘Leaving It Up To You.’ As massive lanterns descend from above the living room atmosphere amplifies, a real sense of close knit community swelling in the room. A tune from South Africa, ‘Sugarcoat,’ is followed by bluesy rock ‘All My Live.’ Ezra rounds out the night with fan favourites ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘Budapest,’ returning for an encore that included ‘Cassy’O’ and massive summer single ‘Shotgun.’

A display of the evolution both in sound and in stage size, Ezra’s performance at Resort Worlds Arena was an immersive display of bliss. Transforming the evening Ezra brought his stories to life, inviting fans along on a journey into the heart and mind of his incredible music.

Following an energizing opening set from Sigrid, George Ezra infused the room with wild uninhibited glee, a pure display of his musical genius.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick





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