George Ezra / Sigrid at Leeds First Direct Arena – Live Review

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Photo credit here

By Jack


Today is a huge day for Sigrid, as she reminds the crowd at the First Direct. It marks the release of her debut album Sucker Punch on all good platforms, and it also happens to be International Women’s Day – two developments she gushes about, understandably.

She’s opening for George Ezra, who has been taking a sold-out tour up and down the country. Her style of hyper scandi-pop isn’t necessarily the best fit for Ezra’s Dylanisms, but she makes it work. With the help of a full band – drums, keys, backing dancer who looks exactly like her etc – Sigrid brings her set a sugar rush of sweetness and energy.

The Coldplay-ish arrangement of keys and digi-strings on ‘Don’t Feel Like Crying’ sounds absolutely fantastic on the night, though the best known tune is obviously ‘Strangers’. During the latter the crowd are encouraged, or rather coerced into singing at max volume thanks to the insistence of the singer herself, whose demands for sing-a-long sent dogs howling from here to Guiseley.

The best song however is ‘High Five’, criminally absent from her first LP. That is perfect pop craft right there. Clearly the novelty of playing on this enormous stage was not lost on Sigrid, with her bounding to-and-fro like a dervish.

George Ezra, in contrast, doesn’t stray much from his rug – a medallion of muted maroon the purpose of which is unclear – but he makes up for that with constant input, insight, and a mega-watt grin that threatens to blind the lower circle.

Ezra, it has been noted, is the nicest man in music. That sounds like a jibe, or a concession, but it’s true. Besides he has the tunes to back it up. The 60’s road rock of ‘Budapest’ is lovely, and sounds every bit as revelatory as it did years ago on release.

However a few surprises pop up – the moody ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ and the rollicking ‘Paradise’ makes for a breakneck one-two.

The stage design is simple, the huge LCD screens reflecting the titular home of Tamara from last year’s LP. However the tasteful effective staging is a welcome choice: no one wants lasers and pyro at a George Ezra gig, after all. It’s classy but downplayed and appropriate for the set.

As Ezra brings the house down with the oldies-out-of-their-chairs anthem ‘Shotgun’, ringing the concert to an end with aplomb, you sense that the job has been done and then some. The twinkling songwriter has cracked the arena circuit. Where to next?

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