It is no secret that music and travel go hand in hand. The concept of place is the perfect muse for musicians, since a real depth of emotion can be linked to a geographical location or experience. English singer-songwriter George Ezra, who is no stranger to travelling, gave a truly memorable performance to a buzzing audience in Margaret Court Arena on Saturday night. Combined with the opener, Eves Karydas, both performers displayed nostalgic nods to the their time abroad by describing the influence of that time on their music.
Brisbanite, Eves Karydas, was a fantastic crowd warmer and sweet treat for the audience awaiting the arrival of Ezra. With a sound reminiscent of Lorde, her gripping vocals were the driving force behind her catchy pop tunes, whilst dancing enthusiastically to every song. To the audience’s delight, she even performed a unique version of the song she “wishes she wrote” – Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”.
Between songs and in a heartfelt way, Karydas described her time living in London over the past three years and how it was the best life decision she ever made. She illustrated how this experience shaped not just herself as a person but many of the songs she performed during her set, notably the crowd favourite, “Further Than The Planes Fly”. Setting the tone for the evening, the mention of travel appeared to evolve into a running theme.
Is it me or do all parents love George Ezra? Not just mine, but most of my friends’ parents also adore him in a way as if he were their own. Perhaps it’s the combination of his English charm, kind face and warm, feel-good folk tunes? We can only speculate. But the first thing I noticed as I approached the arena, was the amount of older people striding in the same direction. When Ezra opened the set with “Don’t Matter Now”, my eyes were drawn immediately to a girl of about twelve years old, whose shaking hands remained at her mouth in complete awe for most of the night. Two rows ahead of her, a lad in his twenties sat beside his almost-identical Dad, and together they managed to encourage other crowd-members to wave in unison with them. There was no doubt in that room that George Ezra appeals to folk of all ages and all genders.
Promising from the offset to play both old and new music, the crowd were absolutely devoted to the performance from the very moment it began. Ezra’s baritone vocals are arguably the most prominent characteristic of his music and they were an absolute delight to witness live. Smooth as liquid gold. Keeping his promise, he performed a variety of songs from both albums and took audience on a a roller coaster of different emotions; in my eye-line alone I could see two people crying throughout “Hold My Girl”.
Any fan would be aware that Ezra’s music has been inspired time and time again by his travels. When his first album Wanted On Voyage (2014) was released, he noted the importance of an inter-rail trip around Europe that provided the main inspiration for the record. Throughout his performance those experiences, even years later, evidently continue to hold much personal significance to him. Before “Barcelona”, “Budapest” and “Sugarcane” (inspired by South Africa), Ezra described compelling anecdotes that either influenced or related to the songs. In these moments, he not only displayed charisma as a storyteller and entertainer, but also moved the audience by proposing, perhaps unknowingly, how valuable travelling is.
A slight mention of Ezra’s six-piece band who won my heart for the evening – mostly for their inclusion of a choreographed brass duo. Yep, each movement, sway and boogie was planned and performed simultaneously. The trombone and guitar solos performed in “All My Love” were second to none, whilst “Saviour” heard the entire band break out into multiple vocal harmonies, thickening the layers behind Ezra’s voice. They were consistently surprising and engrossing to watch.
As predicted, George Ezra exuded as much charm and genuineness on stage as he does in his recorded work and interviews. Despite his first-class talent and international fame, he appeared completely modest and down to Earth. Likely unintentionally, but rather as an unplanned coincidence, both acts made continual references to the impact that travelling had on their lives and music. Being in the audience, it certainly made my feet itchy to see somewhere new, and I’m sure I was not alone in this thinking.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Unfortunately, Melbourne was George Ezra’s closing show of his Australian tour, but you can follow him at his official website.
Later this month, Eves Karydas is going on her own headline tour of Australia with the following dates:
Thursday 14 Feb – Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth WA
Friday 15 Feb – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide SA
Saturday 16 Feb – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 17 Feb – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 21 Feb – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Friday 22 Feb – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane QLD
Purchase tickets HERE
The reviewer attended the performance at Margaret Court Arena on 1st February 2019.