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11th November 2014

Live: George Ezra

George Ezra seems to win over the crowd but lacks substance

20th October

The Ritz


George Ezra is on a roll at the moment: charting in 14 countries, playing a Glastonbury set and on European tour. This is no ordinary 21-year-old. It is hard to not have respect for just how much he has achieved.

But it is hard to have as much respect for his music. Ezra is affable, unpretentious and engages with his crowd. The girls absolutely love him. Asking what they liked about his music there were many comments about “his voice,” that “he sounds like he is 50,” and a few about his looks. The comments were more about the man than about his music.

Partway through his set he spoke about travelling through Europe; how it inspired his music, saying that on his travels he would note down everything that happened, “even the things that seemed quite ordinary, or mundane.” He was not lying.

The setlist could be about a single relationship. Putting the lyrics from ‘Budapest’, ‘Cassy O’, ‘Barcelona’ and other songs together we find a pattern.  First he sings to her that “for you… I’d leave it all,” then as the relationship sours, “please don’t leave.” Once it is over: “I still long to hold her once more,” and then he blames “your halfwit of a boyfriend,” and threatens to “fill your pillowcase up with snakes.”

While there are positive blues, indie and country influences in his music the lyrics and themes become so predictable they stifle his genuine talent. Ezra’s voice is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. It adds this depth to everything he sings about; but exposes weakly emotional and self-centred ballads about teenage love and loss for what they are.

George Ezra has the potential to make amazing music that will be remembered. But he needs something to sing about.

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