Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Thurs 30 Oct
Probably one of the most talked about artists of 2014, George Ezra has sprung from nowhere and managed to win over some of the most prestigious critics in the music business. At 21, he has a voice well beyond his years and is probably the envy of most other singer-songwriters his age – likewise older ones who spent years roughing it on the pub and club scene before seeing a glimmer of his success.
Being the final date of his current UK tour I had high expectations for this gig. Unfortunately, Ezra had a hard act to follow – and not in a good way. Rae Morris took the stage to warm up the crowd – not that we needed it, as the heat in the Great Hall was almost unbearable: please turn on the AC next time, Cardiff Union staff. Sitting at her keyboard for all but her final song, Morris failed miserably to get any kind of atmosphere going. A terrible choice of support act for such a highly anticipated artist.
The stage was simply set, with almost no lighting except for the one spotlight on George Ezra. His voice is live as it is on the radio: an aged, deep baritone, smooth as a truffle and accompanied by a simplistic guitar style reminiscent of Johnny Cash.
He opened with hit singles Cassy O and Blame It On Me. Infused in the middle of the set was some less well known tracks from his debut LP Wanted On Voyage. Seemingly, this was all it took to induce unease and disinterest in sections of the audience; one hopes this isn’t a sign that Ezra is just a flash in the pan of this fickle music industry. Surely with a voice this soulful and distinctive, he is destined for longevity.
Luckily, the crowd perked up again when Ezra brought his set to a close with his most successful song to date, Budapest, and a haunting a capella encore of Did You Hear The Rain?. I have high hopes for George Ezra, but at the moment he is lacking a certain grit. With his age and lack of experience, he can’t yet be too complacent about his ability to captivate a crowd.
words DENISE CUSACK