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Review: A joyous occasion as George Ezra returns to Lytham Festival

Posted on - 30th June, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Music, Opinion, Preston News, What's On in Preston
An enormous crowd swelled to see George Ezra Pic: Lytham Festival

A sun-kissed Lytham Green was treated to a Thursday night party as George Ezra returned to the festival.

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After co-headlining in 2018 with Emilie Sande this was the Gold Rush Kid’s first time leading the bill on his own and much has happened for him in the last five years.

With an increased capacity the festival was bursting at the seams with families awaiting the arrival of George and they had plenty of entertainment ahead of his set.

Read more: Who is on and when at Lytham Festival

Opening the show were Irish folk-rock trio Kingfishr, combining Snow Patrol and Mumford & Sons-esque tunes and a genuine delight for being on stage and get the crowd going with their mentions of George Ezra and appreciation of him.

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Kingfishr performing first on Thursday Pic: Lytham Festival

Lead singer Edmond Keogh lapped up the applause and sunshine, and gave nice backgrounder to each track and has the makings of a strong frontman for the years ahead. Heart In The Water the stand-out track, brooding, and building, with some nice crowd interaction too.

Strolling on with an effortless cool after were indie four piece The Big Moon. With simmering dark undertones there’s pop sensibilities too, they’d be a perfect foil and support for of the moment Wet Leg.

Your Light is beautiful anthemic indie-pop that gets everyone raising drinks in the air and children are busting out moves all over the place.

Throughout the acts there’s a superb interpreter doing BSL on the stage-side, complete with dance moves, to ensure the festival is inclusive and accessible. It’s worth noting with seating areas, wide-access areas, accessible toilets, accessible-dedicated entrance and the lowered-bar the festival is catering and available to all.

It’s also really expanded the family-friendly offering, this was my six-year-old’s first ever experience of live music. With multiple food options, free water bottle refills, an enormous pick-n-mix stall this is the best way to ease in little people to live music in a friendly but party-like atmosphere.

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The small touches make it too, the security guard high-fiving kids after scanning their ticket to enter isn’t much – but to them it sets them at ease in big crowds.

Cat Burns gets proceedings going again and the crowd swells dramatically to see her – a sign of her rising star.

Gracefully prowling the stage and giving little waves there’s a lot of affection for Cat and her tales of love, break-ups, anxiety and more.

No mistaking who was on stage Pic: Lytham Festival

People Pleasure really gets everyone moving and there’s plenty of introspective moments from Burns before rolling out a cover of Ed Sheeran’s A-Team that goes down very well with a crowd that is definitely ready for a sing-a-long.

Finishing with break-through hit Go there’s a slick performer here who, with another album or two under her belt, will likely have the appeal to headline the likes of Lytham in the future and her tracks have that ability to speak-to the TikTok generation and the befuddlement of the teenage and early-20 years.

After what feels like an age – especially according to my daughter and her friend – as the clouds gather and the sun fades – George Ezra and band arrive to the stage as Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’ bounces from the speakers.

George Ezra taking to the stage at Lytham Pic: Lytham Festival

There’s a very warm welcome for George Ezra and every other person seems to have a young child on their shoulders. He is a staple in the Spotify playlists for the school-run, road trips and all family life. “Is it really him?” I hear my daughter mutter from on high on my shoulders before manically waving and shouting “Hi George Ezra!”.

Anyone For You (Tiger Lily) is the opener and eases everyone in with an enormous sing-a-long, before one of his earlier hits Cassy O is wheeled out early to keep the dancing feet and clapping hands waving.

Pretty Shining People is a highlight with light shows, George conducting the crowd and the camera operator working overtime to try and capture every kid aloft on shoulders, as the “Don’t We All Need Love, The Answer Is Easy” call and response section makes the warm fuzzy beer and gin-and-tonic glows feel even warmer.

On the shoulders – like many others – for George Ezra Pic: Lytham Festival

A breather for everyone as Barcelona is wheeled out to begin a more mellow section from Ezra as he showcases his more tender side through a mid-section that also includes the delicate Hold My Girl and All My Love.

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In amongst it is the growling bluesy rock number of Saviour – an under-rated Ezra track and showcases a different side away from the pop-chart bothering numbers he’s most well-known for.

Having slowed the tempo right down, it’s picked back up again for a thumping Green Green Grass that is belted back at George as hard as he can belt it out to the audience and there’s a nod to being back in Lytham. His stagecraft is strong, with a very energetic backing band helping ensure the crowd stay engaged and ready to party.

George was in a party mood at Lytham Pic: Lytham Festival

A run through Blame It On Me and Paradise are building things nicely for a very strong ending, Ezra knows he has these bangers to pull out when he needs them and he works them into an end-of-the-show run that gets some very tired little feet back up and dancing.

Budapest is as beautful and life-affirming as you’d expect, ‘Give me one good reason why I should never make a change’ echoes across the green.

As he goes off, I and many other parents, are having to explain the concept of an encore to slightly confused children who haven’t heard that song yet.

A quick break and George is back for a two-song encore. Dance All Over Me is a growing hit, and warms everyone up nicely for an explosion of joyousness at the end.

When you know you have an absolute banger like Shotgun in your hit parade then you know it’s going to go off when you play it and George and band embrace this rather than scowl at it (take note The Strokes after dropping Last Nite from the setlist last summer).

For my daughter, this is the moment – and the glow on her face is worth all the ache from putting her aloft on shoulders for much of the night. This was the first song I can really remember her getting into and is a reminder of 2020 lockdowns, when being able to dance around at a concert felt like a far-off dream.

Where my daughter spent most of the evening! Pic: Blog Preston

Shotgun is everything you’d want it to be, a raucous, arms in the air, Dad-dancing (me included), top of your lungs singing affair from the pensioners to the babes in arms, it is one of those summer classics for years to come. George knows it, and nurtures it, to send the masses streaming out of the gates with an end of June glow. Well done George, well done Lytham.

And here’s my six-year-old’s review in her own words:
I went to Lytham Festival and we listened to The Big Moon and George Ezra. We had chips and hotdog with ketchup. Daddy put me on his shoulders lots and I was singing to all of the George Ezra songs. Shotgun was my favourite and so was Green Green Grass. I am now very tired but very happy.

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