George Ezra And Sam Smith At The Forum: Gig Review

George Ezra (Photo: Joyce Lee)

George Ezra (Photo: Joyce Lee)

Talent speaks in ways that special effects never can. On Friday night, after a gloomy, rain stained day, George Ezra and Sam Smith brought sunshine to Los Angeles. Sans extravagant effects and backup dancers, the English singer songwriters delivered solid performances to a sold out crowd at The Forum.

George Ezra (Photo: Joyce Lee)

George Ezra (Photo: Joyce Lee)

Kicking off his set with “Cassy O,” George Ezra immediately increased the energy in the room, which had been quickly filling up. Though the audience may not be familiar with his work, they still swayed along to the music, because it’s virtually impossible to stay still when Ezra and his band begin to play. After wrapping up the first song, Ezra introduced himself in a humble, English manner (humorously self-deprecating, that is) and urged the crowd to look up the video for “Blame It On Me,” the second song of the set, in which a series of unfortunate events happen to Ezra. Ezra continued on, with songs like “Listen To The Man” and “Barcelona,” two songs that are incredibly joyful and allow Ezra to show off his impeccable vocals and undeniable guitar skills.

George Ezra (Photo: Joyce Lee)

George Ezra (Photo: Joyce Lee)

A highlight of his set, predictably, came when he began to play the beginning riff to “Budapest,” the song that made George Ezra a household name in the UK (soon to be America). Unpredictably, however, that was not the song that rounded out his set, even though it is his most popular single to date. Shimmying through the song, George Ezra got the audience to grove along with him as he crooned “But for you, you, I’d leave it all.” After “Budapest,” Ezra launched into his last tune by singing an acapella verse of “Did You Hear The Rain,” before introducing thunderous guitars and percussions to accompany his bluesy, low hanging voice. The song proved exactly what makes Ezra so special-his control, his vocals, his ethusiasm, his guitar skills, all shine through in different moments of the song. It was only Ezra’s second show in Los Angeles, but after a performance like this, there’ll be many more to come.

A year ago, Sam Smith, like Ezra, had just started to break America. Last time he played in Los Angeles, it was at The Belasco Theater, and now he’s sold out two nights at The Forum. The English singer, who is nominated for a record 6 Grammy Awards, mesmerized Los Angeles with his heart warming and heart breaking ballads on Friday night.

Starting the show with tracks like “I’m Not The Only One” and “Leave Your Lover,” Sam Smith sounds leagues better than you’d imagine. His sound recordings already tell you, the listener, that he’s got talent; but somehow he manages to sound even better. Between songs, Smith would stand back in awe that so many people have shown up to see him, when just a year ago, he was “playing to 100 people.” The crowd roared to his performances; every time he held a note, sang a falsetto, anything: they lost it.

After a varied beginning to the show, Smith sang “Restart,” one of his lastest releases, which is markedly more joyful than the rest of his discography. He followed with tracks like “Like I Can” and “Lay Me Down” before moving into a stripped down performance of “Nirvana,” which is one of Smith’s best tracks, and the title track off his debut EP “Nirvana” that introduced Smith to the music world.

Following that, Smith moved into “Money On My Mind,” an upbeat, fast paced, song that was his first single in America. Smith also sang the covers that first got people talking when these collaborations started climbing the charts. He sang his own, toned down versions of “La La La,” and “Latch,” which were tracks created by Naughty Boy and Disclosure, respectively.

After a brief stage exit, the crowd screamed and yelped and beckoned for the crooner to return to the stage. Saying that the Friday night show has been “the best show on tour,” Smith humbly smiled and stepped back to absorb to the love that every single person in the room had for him. He rounded off the night with (you guessed it) “Stay With Me,” and no one remained in their seats. Everyone brought out their cell phones and swayed along to the ballad that swept the nation this past year. Though his album is named “In The Lonely Hour,” Sam Smith shouldn’t feel alone these days.

-J

Originally posted here.

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