British singer-songwriter George Ezra stopped by the House of Blues to perform a sold out show Wednesday night. Ezra was joined by opening act Dylan LeBlanc, a folksy Louisiana native who happily performed for the packed house.
At 9 p.m., with the word EZRA illuminated in giant letters behind the stage, the man himself skipped out in a “Nuggets” t-shirt. Ezra seemed thrilled to be touring, opening with his upbeat “Cassy O.” In between songs, he took some time to explain where the inspiration for the album came from.
Standing next to a pile of nomadic suitcases, Ezra said that he spent a month traveling around Europe alone and returned home with a notebook full of stories and descriptions of his travels. From this, he wrote most of the music on his debut album. His biggest hit, “Budapest,” was written about the only city he didn’t make it to.
In addition to performing most of the songs from Wanted on Voyage, Ezra included a new song, which he called “(Watching Paint Dry) Song 6.” It’s a laid back melody in which Ezra sings: “Everybody’s searching, searching for a reason and I’m searching for you / We are only dreaming and I’m dreaming only of you.” Will there also be "Watching Paint Dry" songs 1-5?
Ezra also included two covers, one a Bob Dylan cover (“Girl from the North Country)“, of which he helpfully explained, “This next song I’m going to play, I didn’t write this song. I wish I could say that I had, but I didn’t.” For the other, he dug into the hit machine of the beginning of the millennium, breaking out the Macey Gray 2000 hit “I Try.”
The audience was a decent mix of the young and the old, many proudly bearing signs with lyrics. Ezra seems to have successfully done the unlikely: establish himself as a pop star with the ability to reach the mainstream while also attracting fans of nomadic, bluesy storytelling.
He ended his set with the bellowing “Did You Hear the Rain?,” a rock song with a heavy blues feel. It begins without instrumental accompaniment, as Ezra sings “Oh why, do you treat me so?” By the time the chorus rolls around he’s screaming, showing the full strength of his voice. “You can try and run and hide / tearing at the chain / Oh, Lucifer’s inside, Lucifer’s inside.”