Sarah O’Malley went along to review chart-topper Ed Sheeran at Rock City in Nottingham.
After the instantly forgettable Ethan Ash rattled through a set of sub-par acoustic numbers, second support act Random Impulse was a pleasant surprise.
The North London MC whipped the crowd into an excitable frenzy with his Beastie Boys inspired numbers, finishing with the high-octane Best Party Ever. A fitting track to welcome tonight’s main act.
When Ed Sheeran finally takes the stage, it is to a sea of flashing cameras and hysterical shrieks.
Launching straight into album track Grade 8, you could be forgiven for thinking this had been a top ten hit given the reaction of the crowd.
Sheeran is a man with the world at his feet and tonight’s crowd in the palm of his hand.
At only 20-years-old, his performance has the confidence and content of artists twice his age.
Constructing each song with only voice and guitar loops recorded live on stage, it is hard not to be impressed by his musicianship.
Throughout the night, you get the feeling that he is enjoying this just as much as the screaming fans in front of him.
And to his credit he doesn’t let them down.
Breakthrough single The A Team sees an appearance from rapper Mikill Pane to recreate the Collaborations EP track Little Lady.
With its gritty lyrical content and smooth crossover of musical genres, it is undoubtedly the highlight of the night.
An overly long four song encore sees the diehard fans’ energy remain but the rest of the crowd begin to flag.
With the disappointingly safe choice of open mic favourite Hallelujah, Sheeran fails to impress, and a series of drawn out improvisations become tiresome.
Final number You Need Me, I Don’t Need You momentarily regains the crowd’s interest, but by the final note people are ready to leave.
Sheeran’s energy and command of the audience keep the two hour set moving, but only just. An impressive performance that could have been exceptional at half the length.
By Sarah O’Malley