Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion was a chorus women and men alike, diving their voices down an octave as they tried to be one with the holistic round sound of George Ezra on Thursday night.
Kicking off the sold-out evening was Brisbanite Eves Karydas, who’s had an impressive 12 months of climbing up the support act ladder. Having recently opened for the likes of Cub Sport and Dua Lipa, Eves is no stranger to warming up the crowd. She opened with her 2017 single ‘There For You’ – hips rocking and unafraid to move over the stage.
However, as her set continued, technical issues began to sabotage the performance. The singer handled the situation admirably, taking her band momentarily off-stage while the problems were resolved. She led the charge back through her setlist, only to once again be thwarted by a screeching playback noise during ‘Damn Loyal’. Eves was clearly devastated by the mishap and was unable to continue with the technical issues, cutting her set short. Regardless, her crisis management certainly gave her a new respect among the audience and from what she delivered, she had the crowd grooving and ready!
The tall George Ezra and his six-piece band took to the Hordern Pavilion dressed in a sleek all-black ensemble as they sang ‘Don’t Matter Now’. With such a talent of musicians, it was refreshing to see the stage free from distracting palaver and a simple lighting rig to highlight the live music. The setlist consisted mostly of songs from his latest studio album, Staying at Tamara’s, sprinkled with a few crowd favourites from the past.
George began his stage banter by asking whether it was okay he and his band play a few songs for the audience tonight? *Hell yeah!* Maybe it’s a British charm, but his banter continued throughout the night with other questions of consent: “Do you mind if I teach you some lyrics to sing?” and “Can we dance in this song?” It was endearing to say the least.
Staying at Tamara’s chronicles a one-month adventure George took to Barcelona, where rather than taking the easy road and staying in a hotel, he decided to live locally in a house of artists and write songs about his immersive experience. Almost every song was introduced with a story from his travels abroad, such as watching people as he sat on a mountain that he discovered outside Barcelona on his second day (‘Pretty Shining People’).
The mosh pit was an animated mass throughout the entirety of the set – the band knew how to get them moving! A shout out to the keyboardist, James Wyatt, who had a vivacious energy that led many of the crowd clap-alongs and showed the audience the level of vigour they needed to match. Another mention goes to the brass players who really amplified the night with flamboyant solos that made songs such as ‘Blame It On Me’ a highlight.
Overall, the night was a blast despite the rocky beginning. The audience was treated to an evening of first-class live music that left them on an energy high after the encore of ‘Shotgun’.
And George, if you’re planning your next travel-inspired album, I suggest coming to Australia and calling it Staying at Tait’s.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
George Ezra continues his sold-out tour in Melbourne on February 2nd. For more details head to Secret Sounds.
The reviewer attended this show on 31st January 2019.