The whole world, it seems, has fallen under the spell of the charismatic and undeniably talented George Ezra.
The 25-year-old singer-songwriter shot to the top of the UK album charts back in April with second album ‘Staying At Tamara’s’, which he then followed up with a string of sold out live dates across the country; it’s fairly safe to say that there is a considerable level of momentum behind the singer at the moment, and rightly so.
Following on from the England football team’s glorious World Cup win against Panama earlier that very day, Ezra and his band paraded on stage to the sound of Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ ‘Three Lions’.
Visibly luxuriating in the delighted hum of the crowd below, he launched into opening number ‘Cassy O’ and from there on out the show is a parade of trumpet solos, flashing lights and uplifting, feel-good melodies... and he truly couldn’t have wished for a better setting; the event, as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert series, took place in the heart of Pickering’s beautiful Dalby Forest.
He tells the story of how he spent a month staying with a stranger from the internet in Barcelona writing the new album, revealing snippets of information about his time there, and how simple afternoons spent people watching in the sun inspired now much loved tracks such as the exceedingly uplifting ‘Pretty Shining People’. Throughout the entirety of the performance, he converses engagingly with the audience, appearing confident and genuinely delighted to be reunited with the huge sea of fans who sing every lyric, both old and new, back to him instantly.
The good mood and Ezra’s bright smile are infectious, and behind the boyish charm, there is real depth and maturity within his impressive baritone. Ezra displays his immense ability for musical versatility through ballad ‘Hold My Girl’ which is extraordinarily touching and performed with such raw authenticity, showing once and for all that he is far from a one-trick pony.
The likes of ‘Blame It On Me’, ‘Listen To The Man’ and the still unnamed ‘Song 6’ from his 2014 debut album ‘Wanted On Voyage’ are just as euphorically received as tracks from his most recent release, but it is the exhuberant ‘Budapest’ that receives the most excitable reception; perhaps responsible for putting him on the map in the first place, it aptly acts as one last hurrah before he and his band linger at the foot at the stage to take a bow, basking in the afterglow of an all around triumphant performance.