On a cool Thursday afternoon in North Park, laughs and smiles were exchanged in the line for Observatory North Park. The name George Ezra was spelled out in block letters on the marquee, and we spotted his opener, Noah Kahan, in the parking lot snapping a couple quick pictures before the show. The sun was going down as people shuffled closer and closer in line, and the chattering dimmed as people made their way into the venue.
After a quick pat-down, we headed inside. For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the Observatory North Park, it is a treat on the eyes: red ceilings adorned with ornate golden fixings circa 1939, a deep wide general admission pit, and a romantic haze that settles over the crowd of people.
A roar of the crowd signaled that Noah Kahan was coming up, and he strutted on stage. His dark shoulder-length hair accentuated his soulful guitar-playing. A native Vermontian according to Foundations Music’s website, Kahan has an incredible talent for making you feel yearning and nostalgic and happy. The two songs that stood out to me the most were "Young Blood" and "Sink". "Young Blood", a song written to cheer young ones going through intense changes, has a Mumford & Sons feel to it. "Sink" is a song best accompanied by slow motion montages of couples and falling leaves that revs up with the addition of upbeat marching drums. His songs resonated well with the audience, people swaying and clapping along. How surreal it must be for a man from a 1,000 person town (the same town my great-aunt lives) to be on a world tour!
George Ezra signaled his arrival after Kahan left the stage with a haze of blue lights. His smile lead the way as he introduced himself and his band, his guitar almost seeming a part of him. He paused in between songs to tell stories of how they were made.
I won’t spoil all the secrets for you, but I will tell you that on his train trip around Europe, George Ezra got caught up with three Swedish girls watching the Eurovision song competition, and never made it to his next destination - Budapest. He proceeded to laugh with the audience about how most people would write songs about things they had that they’d give up for love; Ezra instead wrote a song about things he never had - “My house in Budapest /My hidden treasure chest / Golden grand piano / My beautiful castillo” - that he would give up for his love. The crowd would chant his lyrics as he quieted, making for an engaging show.
For his encore, George Ezra performed a unique acoustic cover of "These Days", a song with Rudimental, Jess Glyne, Macklemore, and Dan Capone that has been quickly dominating the UK and global music charts. Ezra’s deep baritone was a welcome addition to this song, as were his trombone players.
The Observatory North Park was the perfect intimate venue for these two acts, and I absolutely loved this concert. I can’t wait to see how both artists grow and mature, as they are both have long careers ahead of them.