On the DJ Target hosted Emerging UK Talent stage at Bumper last night Ed Sheeran was the worst kept secret.
At only 20 years of age he has played over 1000 gigs and has been heralded as the next big thing across Radio 1, Radio 2, 1Xtra and Later with Jool’s Holland.
Most of the Liverpool Sound City Crowd in Bumper had gathered to catch Ed, but with a lineup that included grime, dubstep and rap, there was a fairly eclectic mix in the audience.
Running late the Suffolk born native arrived on stage accompanied only by his guitar. In his red T and scruffy ginger hair, the softly spoken singer-songwriter might have seemed out of place on a bill before Grime MC Wretch 32 and Liverpool rapper Kof, but you should never judge a book by its cover.
As soon as he kicked things off the quickly growing crowd became a sea of iPhones and mobiles all set to video, making sure no one missed ‘the next big thing.’
Apologising for the delay in the schedule Ed worked the crowd further into a frenzy with ‘The City’. Keen to show off his variety of skills he broke off from the smooth singing to showcase his quickfire rapping abilities and far from being a strange ginger kid rapping with a guitar he had most of the crowd nodding their heads just like MC’s Rio and Angel had earlier in the night.
Like Jay-Z once said, ‘Real recognise real.’
Having won over most of the crowd by now he asked, ‘Are you guys up for a story?’ Before launching into his upcoming single A Team, he told the crowd how he had performed a gig for a homeless charity and seeing posters around the room saying ‘Angel’s rules’, referring to a lady at the shelter who had been charged with enforcing the rules as an exercise to stop herself breaking them, he wrote the song in her honour.
The backstory gave an added dimension to the song and resulted in an audience wide sing-a-long.
Then the guitar came off. Using two mics, a loop machine and considerable beat boxing skills, he jumped into a cover of Wayfaring Stranger and unleashed a truely outstanding voice. Ed then tried to perform some of the song mic-less, but despite various attempts to quiet the hyped crowd, it was futile.
Thanking the crowd and reminding them that he is back at Bumper tonight (Friday 20th May) for a further set, he asked Bumper to ‘go as mental as possible’ for his final song ‘You Need Me’ to which everyone dutifully accepted.
He then dropped a little of Tinie Tempa’s ‘Pass Out’ at the end of the song before bringing the house down with his rendition of Laid Blak’s ‘Red’.
Ed Sheeran has mad crossover appeal. Equally at home at a folk night or a grime and dubstep event and he proved last night that aside from his stellar singing and guitar playing, he can spit with the best of them, he may well be the first singer/rapper/songwriter and deserves all the buzz being thrown his way.
+ will be released September 19th on Atlantic Records
Photos by Alyshia Doyle