One man, a guitar, and a sampling machine. That is all that there was on stage and that was all Ed Sheeran needed to absolutely rock Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Ed Sheeran is a shy looking kinda guy with a thick crop of ginger hair and loveable face. His style is, well non-apparent, kinda scruffy, standing on stage in a simple jeans and jumper – no designer labels, skinny jeans or checked shirts in sight. To be fair he looks like anything but a singer.
However, when this guy starts to sing… man you listen. His voice is super-smooth, like a spoonful of clear warm honey, singing in a fast melodic style, similar to that of Craig David in his heyday, and it can be hauntingly beautiful at times (indeed, the girl in front of me said he gave her goosebumps at one point). The songs are a fusion of R&B and folk which creates a refreshing sound; mixing the excitement of R&B with the honesty of Folk music.
The way he creates the music, using his voice to beat box drum beats or sing (and then loop) harmonies to create backing oozed raw talent and a keen ear (it would intriguing to hear him play with a full band to see how this alters the music).
Diverse song-writing completes the picture; from a cheeky song about ‘evenings in on the sofa with the missus,’ to a heartfelt tale of his move to London to follow his dreams (The City) or merrily rapping about marijuana (You Need Me) his writing doesn’t bore and is sprinkled with generous doses of humour.
This was his biggest gig to date he told us, and it showed as he started off gingerly. However, he soon grew in confidence as he said, looking starry-eyed, he used to dream about playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire while watching other artists here, and started to live in the moment. And by the end of the show he was orchestrating a sing-a-long complete with complimentary vocals as he split the Empire into two harmony groups! There are very few established artists brave enough to do this, let alone people playing there for the first time.
As the set ended to rapturous applause little Ed seemed taken back by it all. For a moment he seemed stunned, not knowing whether to pack up or enjoy the moment. Then, with the cheesiest of grins, he ran along the front row hi-fiving everyone as if he’d just scored the winning goal in a cup final. And that moment really summed him up, he’s the good guy living his dream and you cannot help but root for him.