Having opened for Tom Odell at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre back in November, fresh faced George Ezra is no stranger to the Irish live scene. Headlining a sold out over 18’s show at The Sugar Club (despite being barely over 18 himself) shows just how widespread the 20 year old Bristolian’s fanbase has become in the last four months alone. Selling out a 350 capacity venue off just one four song EP is an impressive feat, but the stunning show that the singer/songwriter put on for the more mature crowd was second to none.
Opening the show was Northern Irish singer/songwriter Soak, known to her friends and family as Bridie Monds-Watson. The 17 year old is signed to Warner Bros Records, and just last October she supported Tegan and Sara through their European tour. On a cold Irish Wednesday, her delicate vocal and acoustic guitar provided a warmth to the small, velvet-lined main room of the venue. Though the bar to the rear of the room was bustling and noisy, her beautiful vocal ability managed to silence the entire room from the first note. Despite her age, Monds-Watson is incredibly confident and holds a fantastic stage presence; cracking jokes with the crowd, having a conversation with the audience in the intimate venue at one point, and giving even some of the most established singer songwriters of recent times a run for their money. Her short set was definitely on par with the headliner of the evening, and Soak isn’t one to be missed when she embarks on tour alongside CHVRCHES in March.
Just a short time later, the main attraction of the evening made his way onto the stage to little fanfare, taking the time to introduce himself to the crowd at his own sold-out headliner; this slightly awkward and polite air to the young vocalist that laced his somewhat short set. Unfortunately, despite the “mature” crowd that’d gathered in The Sugar Club, the audience put a dampener on George’s set. Talking was consistent, and heckling that wouldn’t even had been heard at a One Direction show by teenagers was being hurled in the headliner’s direction. However, George took it all on the chin, ignoring the noise of the crowd to deliver a stellar show to the rows of people closest to the stage who listened intently to the story behind upcoming single ‘Cassy O’, his travels of Europe that inspired ‘Budapest’, and of course, the tracks themselves.
Ezra’s vocals carry across well in a live setting, his gravelly tone taking on an even rougher edge, evoking an emotion in the songs that isn’t conveyed quite as well in the studio recording of EP tracks ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ amongst others. For a solo artist on stage with nothing but a guitar, his voice and some dancing, his presence is magnetic; for those who made an effort to focus on the show. A George Ezra show is more than just the music, as fans got to hear a brief summary of almost every track in the short 40 minute set, the young lad even capable of making fun of himself. The intimate setting and the camaraderie between Ezra and the crowd, as well as his sheer talent of course, made it a memorable evening.
Seeing him live, it’s easy to see how he was deemed one of BBC’s ‘Sounds of 2014’. This year will hold big things for him, so make sure to catch a glimpse of him on the UK/Ireland festival circuit this summer, as his set is sure to be unforgettable.