George Ezra’s Wanted on Voyage Tour Brings Album to Life and Re-invents Genre
Not many artists have the ability to make seventeen-year-old girls squeal and grown men scream "I love you!" from the depths of the audience, but while George Ezra performs, he commands everyone in the room, no matter who they are.
During his Wanted on Voyage tour, Ezra made a stop at La Sala Bikini in Barcelona, Spain on February 13, 2015. As the lanky 21 year old graced the stage in a two tone denim shirt with a guitar strapped around his shoulder, you can hear the murmurs of excitement from all the ladies in the room, who range from anywhere from their late teens to mid-thirties. Even the men in the room immediately pull out their phones to record his entrance and begin to shout. The surprising part, however, is not the reactions of those in the room before the singer even opens his mouth. The shock is when the young man, who appears even younger than his real age, sings with a deep soulful voice that you would never match to his face. From just hearing his music, you would assume the man behind the microphone is in his forties, and probably has a lumberjack beard and square framed glasses.
Ezra's style is hard to describe. He is often compared to the likes of Sam Smith, Hozier, and Ed Sheeran, but those musicians don't have the same upbeat presence in their songs that Ezra does. The singer-songwriter who croons about love from behind their guitar or piano is a common genre today. But rather than make listeners want to grab a tub of ice cream and cry alone for a couple hours like the aforementioned artists do, Ezra does something different. He still sings about loneliness and heartbreak, but he does it in a way that makes you want to get up and dance. His catchy lyrics and melodies are matched with beats just subtle enough to make you want to get up off your feet. This combination illustrates that Ezra is doing something with this genre that not many other artists do right now.
He embodies this spirit with the first song he plays. The concert opens with "Cassy O," a song about going to the ends of the Earth to get the love of his life back, all while knowing the love is more than likely unrequited. Despite the song's sad nature, after one strum on the guitar, the audience was jumping up and down to the beat shouting the lyrics with smiles on their faces. The atmosphere that he creates doesn't leave room for moping, it just generates positivity.
La Sala Bikini is a small venue with standing room only, which works perfectly for Ezra's presence and sound. The room was packed with probably 500 people squished together. The crowd seemed to be an equal blend of both people from Spain, and people from Ezra's native home of the United Kingdom. The younger audience members were staged more towards the front, and a crowd of twenty-somethings stayed put at the bar toward the side. While the crowd was young, the back was filled with people on the older end of the spectrum, who presumably just did not want to push their way through the crowd to get closer.
As the English singer-songwriter began each song, he started off with a roll of his head, leaning backwards, looking up at the ceiling of the room. One the song had fully begun he resumed a straight up position and stared into the eyes of everyone in the audience.
His stage presence is in many ways like his music: kind of quirky. He stood in the same spot the whole show, not walking around the stage or venturing around to dance. But you can tell just from the look on his face while he is performing, that he is in his zone, and is working the stage for his own music.
Watching an artist have that much fun makes the show more enjoyable as an audience member. It lets him bring the music to life, and keeps the positive atmosphere has created alive.
After he sang his biggest hit and first single "Budapest," he exited the stage only to return for an encore. He began the four-song closer with a song that was close to home for the audience. As he uttered the lyrics, "Barcelona, I long to hold you once more," the crowd erupted in screams and immediately began to dance, and a man by the bar even dared to shout, "George, I fucking love you, man!" It was during this song that the connection between Ezra and the crowd felt it was at its strongest. You could feel his passion for music and the audience's excitement mix. A song titled after the city in which he was playing was the perfect way to lead up to his close.
With George Ezra's unique sound and style, and inviting stage presence, he is bound to become a highly talked about artist. His Wanted On Voyage tour brings his album to a new dimension, just as it brings joy to everyone present.