NME sent Mark Beaumont to only say nice things about nice George Ezra. Nice.
Look, the sun’s out, everyone’s ‘blowing up’ balloons to celebrate (right Metro?) and the joys of Glastonbury season are spilling across the Vale Of Avalon like crack cocktails across the floor of the Beat Hotel. So my editor, high on life (and I mean really, surprisingly high) insists I go to see George Ezra and find ten things to like about him. Tuned out not to be that difficult…
He’s a trouper
Having hurt his ankle in a bizarre jogging accident, George is struggling manfully on through his lucrati… um, well-earned string of festival dates, playing sitting on a stool. He’s basically the beige pop Dave Grohl.
He’s a well-travelled raconteur
Over his hour and a bit, George takes us on an exotic journey in song, basing tracks on visits to the mountains around Barcelona, the US west coast and plenty of points inbetween, and weaving tales of his adventures along the way. It’s a bit like if Peter Ustinov could have knocked out a couple of chords.
He’d happily drink tramp rum
One of his many worldly between-song stories, ahead of ‘Budapest’, involved turning up in a town while on an inter-railing trip around Europe and buying rum from “a man in a park” in order to get drunk watching Eurovision with three Swedish girls. And we’ve all been there.
His voice is pretty great
It’s a bit like sinking into a deep, warm leather sofa. He could hum us gently to sleep any night he likes.
He gets his dad on
“It’s a tradition that my dad always comes on and swaps one guitar at this festival,” he says as Ezra senior hands him a guitar ahead of ‘Paradise’. Adorable, much?
He’s got a gramophone onstage
It’s probably not playing anything – those things need about three attendants to crank up these days, we’d wager the crackling record that appears to be playing is on tape – but just to create a vintage mood for the intro to voodoo blues track ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’, you’ve got to admire the effort.
He can turn his hand to pretty much anything
Southern swamp blues, sunny pop, blue-eyed soul, Rio carnival – if it’s a bit Magic FM George can handle it, and handles all of it like a hardened pro.
One sign asks him to say hello to their friends on TV. Another sign says ‘read the sign’. George dutifully reads the sign out, but insists “I have a strict one-sign per gig policy.
He’s got some crackers, as it happens
If you strain to hear through the overwhelming sound of beige, ‘Paradise’ and ‘Shotgun’ are proper tunes. Sorry.
He has rainbow ticker tape
Clearly down with the LGBTQ+ Pride month, our George. Sunhats off to the chap.