It was an incredibly sunny day in Brighton, and George Ezra’s electrifying performance at Concorde 2 raise the temperature to a boiling point. The second last show of his sold out tour, George Ezra, with support from Port Isla and Dancing Years, wooed the crowd with great gusto.
Concorde 2 is located further away from the main area centred by Brighton Pier, with 2 disco balls hanging from the ceiling along with tracks for movable spotlights, it is evident that on nights where there aren’t gigs, it is another nightclub. On this night, with people filling up the venue soon as the door opens, Concorde 2 is a gig venue for the night.
The first support act to step on stage was Norfolk based Port Isla. They joked about being the “personal trainer” of the main act, and tried to get the audience to stomp and clap along from the start. It is not an easy task when people have not heard your music, and they have their minds focused on waiting for the main act, but Port Isla’s beat heavy songs did get some of the crowd going.
Their blend of folk with a bit of indie rock mixed in it, topped with harmonies, their performance injected quite a shot to the musical vein. ‘Sinking Ship’ and ‘Steamroller’ were especially memorable; they both showcasing lead singer Will Bloomfield’s voice and how the sounds of the instruments weaved together. ‘Steamroller’ is a heart-pounding, blood-pumping anthem. If you were in need for that final push to keep you going and feeling good afterwards, this would be the song to listen to, and the catchy chorus and drum beats will stay in your mind. They have also made it to the final eight of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition this year and will be performing at the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday.
Next up were Dancing Years from Leeds. A member of the audience quickly spotted the violin and exclaimed “Please don’t let that guy go crazy on the violin, I really can’t stand a band with a violin!” I’m not sure what the verdict of that girl was after the whole performance, but personally I thought the violin was a great touch to the delicate yet rich heartfelt tunes of the band. A few moments into leader singer David Henshaw’s singing, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the same quality I heard in Oxford born and based Adam Barnes. They both have that poignant vocal which fully captures the emotional sentiment of the lyrics. Dancing Years did a cover of Canadian indie rock band Broken Social Scene’s ‘Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl’. While in the original Emily Haines’ voice was heavily modified by effects, in this cover David Henshaw with his compelling voice brought out the heart-aching sadness of the song even more. ‘Here’s to My Old Friends’, which is their first single, is a fragile but powerful ballad with layered instrumentation which set the atmosphere right from the first note. The lyrics are laconically melancholic, expressing the simple yet direct universal feelings of missing a friend. The half smile presented throughout the whole set especially accentuated the despair of all the alternative folk band’s songs.
The climax of the night was built up by the buzzing anticipation as star of the night, Hertford born Bristol based George Ezra, took the stage. With his humorous interaction with the crowd and his band members, the freshly turned 21 Ezra was apparently still young at heart. He delivered a mix of already released songs or those to be on his album which is out in less than a week. Each track demonstrated his ability to fit his bluesy, powerful voice to range of songs with his impressive guitar skills.
‘Barcelona’ was the stage for George Ezra to display his incredible guitar skills as he strummed a brilliant riff in-between his singing. The audience attentively sang along to every word of thrilling ‘Budapest’ and tongue-in-cheek ‘Cassy O’. Having stated in previous interviews that he highly anticipated for his songs to be sung back to him at festivals, in this sold out tour he surely had a first taste of that. ‘Over the Creek’ signifies his tight relationship with his family; the song was developed from when his father taught him how to play the guitar. George’s sister manages his merch table on tour and he often tweets sibling moments with both his sister and brother. It is his honest straightforwardness in his singing and lyrics that make his songs believable and his singing and performance immensely engaging. The closing number ‘Did You Hear the Rain?’ clearly showed the range of musical styles he is capable of, in this one his voice was particularly rich, rough and with growling bass notes.
This June tour may have finished for now, but with an album release show on 3rd July, an abundance of festival appearances this summer, and an European tour
throughout autumn and winter, this year is going to continue to be #Petan for George Ezra.