Live review: George Ezra at Tut’s, 22/2/14

george ezraDespite some initial technical problems with his first guitar, tonight’s performance at Glasgow’s infamous King Tut’s validates George Ezra’s as one of the most interesting and fresh performers of 2014.

Having gained popularity after last year’s performance at Glastonbury Ezra has gone on to receive substantial radio play.

So, with this being his first ‘big’ tour across the UK and Europe will George Ezra cut his teeth and scale into the upper echelons of the folk-blues elite or like so many of his comparable predecessors (Willy Mason, Jesse Malin) fade into obscurity?

If tonight’s performance is anything to go by then I would wage my money on the former.

Coming on stage to a completely sold out King Tut’s, Ezra launches into ‘Over the Creek’, a sobering affair that showcases all of his husky vocal potential.

Ezra’s voice sounds as if it has been matured for 30 years in an oak cask in a southern Tennessee distillery, never mind only being matured for 20 years in Bristol.

If it wasn’t for the conversations interspersed throughout the show ending in “mate” and “innit” you would swear that Ezra had descended directly from the Johnny Cash line.

It doesn’t take long for the Glaswegian crowd to begin chanting along with the repetitive chorus of forthcoming EP ‘Cassie O’, an upbeat whimsical folly about pleading with a lover to stay; it’s clear just how large Ezra’s voice can be.

On stage with only his guitar he is able to fill the venue as if he had full backing from another two guitarists.

‘Blind Man in Amsterdam’ has Ezra asking for the crowd to participate with another light-hearted chorus of “bo diddy diddy dum”.

The song that was penned while Ezra was travelling around Europe and is weighed down with a looming sense of despair, yet speckled with Ezra’s youthful sense of optimism.

‘Budapest’ is the song that everyone is waiting to hear, an upbeat jangle that is both kitsch and affirming, set off against Ezra’s gravelly singing has every member of the crowd bopping along.

Initial release ‘Angry Hill’ also had the audience singing along in high falsetto, this seems to take Ezra off guard, but can only serve as an indication of the pathway to success that he is bound.

It’s easy to throw comparisons around, and there is a fair few at the moment – from Paulo Nutini to Woody Guthrie, but what is fair to say is that, George Ezra is a fresh faced youth intent on cutting his own path through today’s musical jungle, he has his own style and his live set is uplifting and unassuming.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on in 2014.

Words: Angela Canavan

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