GEORGE Ezra is the fresh-faced boy with the lived-in voice – or that’s how the promotional line goes anyway.
O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW
In reality, he’s a calmly proficient performer whose vaguely rootsy pop music putters along with the breezy banality of Mumford & Sons.
It’s early days for Ezra. His insubstantial set drew almost entirely on debut album Wanted on Voyage. Tracks such as Barcelona and his freewheeling folk pop hit Budapest sound like whimsical extracts from his Interrailing diary – he could substitute any place name for all the bland universality of the sentiments expressed.
Yet the enthusiastic audience singalongs were surely some validation of his ear for a simple pop hook, and it was clear from down in the crowd that his airbrushed blues appealed to lads and lasses alike.
The slower, non-singalongable songs were ponderous and more self-regarding. Despite his practised, polished presentation, he lacked the authority and character to carry off a would-be intimate solo interlude, which included an underwhelming cover of Bob Dylan’s Girl From the North Country.
On the plus side, the following Stand By Your Gun brightened the set with its clean, upbeat guitar jangle, and his baritone voice suited the melodramatic country-tinged torch song Spectacular Rival. But these glimmers of personality were rare in a strictly lightweight set which culminated in Did You Hear the Rain? – a track which tries hard to affect the blues but lacks any aching emotion at its core.