George Ezra: live in Barcelona!

Dark, downstairs and dirty, the Sala Bikini is an unlikely rock venue, tucked away in the corner of a Barcelona shopping mall. Inside, it’s small and cramped, a bit like a London pub during a World Cup match. The stage is in the midst of the throng and the headline act plays there, in your face, almost able to step off the stage and start strolling about on the heads of the crowd. That was where we saw George Ezra play live on Friday 13th, 2015.

Ezra is an artist on the rise. His biggest hit ‘Budapest’ already has 113 million listens on Spotify. The accompanying album, ‘Wanted on Voyage’ is also wonderful. It feels like albums used to be: a complete work where every track fits neatly together, rather than a random collection of tunes.

George Ezra Wanted on Voyage

‘Wanted on Voyage’ was inspired by Ezra’s interrailing trip around Europe. It’s bittersweet that his most famous song was inspired by the one place he didn’t get to, Budapest. It’s funny how often that happens, that we’re inspired more by what we miss that what we actually see. The other city that lingered in his imagination was my own adopted home, and Ezra cunningly left it till the encore to play his smooth ballad Barcelona.

George’s interrailing days may be over, but he’s still hurtling from place to place. The day before our gig he was performing in Paris and the day after he was playing in Madrid. This week he’s back home in the UK where every gig is sold out but, lucky reader, if you live in the US or Northern Europe, you can still get tickets to many of his concerts later this year.

I had expected Ezra just to play his album from start to finish but there were a couple of surprises in store. Midway through the set, he played a few solo numbers on the guitar including a rocky version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Girl from the North Country’.


In style, Ezra is a lot like Dylan: his playing style is stripped back and rootsy, but he’s also ready to go electric and blast out some more rocking tunes.

And that voice! He sounds like something out of the Mississippi Delta. Listen to his song ‘Did You Hear the Rain?’ next to ‘O Death’ on the soundtrack to O Brother, Where art thou? and you’ll see what I mean. There are other powerful hints of the Deep South in Ezra’s songs. ‘Spectacular Rival’, for example, has the same epic power of ‘Far from Any Road’ by The Handsome Family, the theme music to True Detective.

Oh my! Did I mention that George Ezra is only 21 years old? He looked slightly surprised by all his success as the audience sang along to almost every one of his songs. Age means nothing when you have a major talent, and George Ezra has the magic. We’ll never be able to see him play in such a small venue again.


12 responses to “George Ezra: live in Barcelona!

  1. Thanks Al – will have to check this out!

    Hope you and Maria are really well 🙂

    Love from us,

    Mike, Yonaisi & Jesus


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  2. I tend not to get out much when it comes to music but even I have discovered this guy so he must be darn good, I shall give the rest of the album a listen though as I confess my auditory dabblings are a lot less pronounced than my visual adventures.

    • You’ll love it. I was so impressed with the album. Budapest is a amazing song but there is not a weak track on Wanted on Voyage. The only album to match it from last year was Zaz by Zaz, which is similarly awesome even though it’s all in French so I don’t understand a word of it!

      • I do love to sing along to something in another language, it helps me learn the language and to be ignorant to music is always far more polite in my opinion. I will check Zaz out, I do like to dabble in all forms of media and you always give out the best recommendations.

      • Weirdly I was at a shoe shop in Frinton-on-Sea in Essex and they were playing Zaz’z album too. We ha da chat about it because I was so surprised but they’d heard about it through word of mouth too. It’s really lively.

  3. Seeing great, talented people live in small venues is the best musical experience on the planet. Savour the moments and nurture the memories. Lucky you! and thanks for sharing.

  4. I thought he was really cute saying “please, bear with us” or “I hope you enjoy this one”… He’s very talented and yet so shy! I loved the gig too!

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