George Ezra, Leeds Arena
Graham Clark, Features Writer
She might look like the girl next door or for that matter many of the female members in the audience tonight, but Norwegian rising star Sigrid can certainly move. She has a commanding stage presence that denies her young age.
Sucker Punch, the title track of her new album is typical of her sound: upbeat pop which the Scandinavian countries seem to have excelled at over the last 15 years or so. New single Don't Feel Like Crying is currently riding high on the airplay charts but it was her biggest hit to date, Strangers where the audience really picked up on her.
The success of George Ezra might come as a surprise to many. In a singles chart dominated by drab R&B tracks his melodic songs stand out like a sore thumb. Mention his name to anyone faintly interested in pop music and you can bet that they will know his name, mainly because his music appeals to a mass audience.
The age range at the Leeds arena ran from 4 to 80. I was surprised to see how many under 10's were there, if this was their first concert I couldn't think of a more satisfying introduction.
The stage set looks like a 1930's drawing room with palm plants and even a gramophone in the corner. After an introduction over the PA by Radio 1 DJ Greg James, Ezra bounds on stage with a spring in his step like as if he has been given the keys to the universe. If someone has told him to make the most of this opportunity he has definitely taken their advice.
Fittingly the 7 piece band actually integrate throughout the gig so that it is not just George Ezra and backing band. The 3 piece brass section brought an even greater depth to his tracks.
He is a good story teller about the ideas and how his songs came about, from his month long stay in Barcelona to Inter railing around Europe and staying longer in Sweden and never making it to Budapest. He even shares that he had never watched the Eurovision Song Contest. He might not like it but in fact some of his jaunty songs might even win the Eurovision!
Did You Hear The Rain showed a darker, rockier sound, but by the time Hold My Girl was performed it was accompanied by at least 30 huge lanterns being suspended from the arena ceiling. The camera phones are all out as Paradise reminds you that songs as melodic as this which even the milkman can whistle, are very few and far between these days.
Shotgun will still be remembered in 30 years time. The under 10's here tonight will probably be married and bringing their families along to see Ezra. The song destined to become a karaoke favourite was a fitting end to what had been aSigrid happy occasion from one of pop music's most unlikely stars.
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George Ezra, Leeds Arena, 9th March 2019, 12:39 PM