TIM DE LISLE GIG OF THE WEEK BY GEORGE, HE’S GOT IT!
...and next year he’ll win a Brit
Prediction, always a mug’s game, is probably even madder at the moment, but here goes anyway: in 2019, George Ezra will win his first Brit award. And fully deserve it.
When he broke through in 2014, with Budapest, Ezra was a 21-year-old with an old man’s voice and the air of a one-hit wonder. Now, after making the song of the sum- mer in Shotgun, he’s one of Britain’s princes of pop – sunnier than Sam Smith, more charm- ing than Ed Sheeran.
Ezra has two British tours coming up, both sold out. In Cologne, he packs the 4,000-capacity Palladium, an oblong cousin of the Roundhouse in London, industrial but convivial. The fans range from about seven to 70.
It’s not easy to spot Ezra when he comes on stage – as the arenas beckon, he may want to invest in a video screen – but everyone can feel his presence. The man radiates bonhomie, and so does his sound, bolstered by some barnstorming horns. Breezy and inclusive, it’s like the trips abroad that he loves to sing (and talk) about. He’s the poet laureate of Airbnb.
There is a thread that runs from Bill Haley to the Beach Boys to Martha And The Vandellas to Madness to this man. Fun, fun, fun, as Brian Wilson put it: snappy rhythms, cheery choruses, a tonic for the whole family.
To this mix, Ezra adds lyrics addressing the many anxieties that plague his generation, pop stars included. Songs like Pretty Shining People take a classic flavour – bittersweet – and give it a contemporary twist. No wonder people like them. georgeezra.com