From the living room set-up to Greg James’ pre-recorded introduction and the endless string of hits, there was something very familiar about George Ezra’s 90-minute performance at London’s O2 Arena.
By all measures a runaway success after three acclaimed albums, 25-year-old Ezra is gradually mastering the sort of homely, fuzzy-pop that will guarantee a lifetime at the top.
And his live performances are simply adding to the aura. More than just the conduit for feel-good pop songs, Ezra is possessed of an easy charm that makes him an instantly likeable figure as he patrols the stage.
Easing into the set with ‘Don’t Matter Now’ and ‘Get Away’, the sell-out crowd are instantly in the groove and Ezra is happy to lead them in a merry dance. Each song seems to come with its own creation tale, its own backstory that brings it to life.
From the hills overlooking Barcelona where ‘Shinny Happy People’ was written to the party in a park that led to ‘Budapest’ it is these little glimpses into the normality of Ezra’s life that sprinkle a little magic over a captivating night that shows an artist at his best.
As the instantly recognisable anthems continue to roll out – from downbeat ballad ‘Barcelona’ to up-tempo fist-pumper ‘Paradise’ – Ezra’s objectives become clear.
For all the knocks that he is lightweight, and his music very twee, perhaps that is the point: in a time of such anger and angst, not every song needs to be a protest or rallying cry. Music can instead be a great distraction, and Ezra is proving to be the master of that.