After recently closing their UK tour at infamous venue KOKO and with an exciting US tour approaching in the new year, being able to witness part of the rapid rise of the enticing Ezra Collective was a privilege. Selling out the relatively humble Wardrobe, there was an air of anticipation before the London-based quintet took to the stage. The audience spanned from a mix of elderly jazz connoisseurs to groups of students eager for a party; both of which were wholly satisfied by the end of the night.
Packed to the brim, with just enough space around the edges to sneak out between songs and grab a go-to pint of Amstel, the crowd eagerly awaited ‘Juan Pablo’ to drop, and for the main act of the night to begin. Joe wafted a stick of lit incense and a couple of notes escaped Dylan Jones’ Trumpet and James Mollison’s Sax, as an exponential rise in the roar from the crowd soon accompanied the first of many mesmerising bass riffs from TJ. The gig had begun, the crowd were up for it, and what ensued was 80 minutes of pure joy.
If ‘Sao Paulo’ is anything to go by, the next album looks to improve on this young band’s already esteemed discography.
The gig consisted primarily of tracks from the critically-acclaimed album, Juan Pablo: The Philosopher, with the exception of a teaser from next year’s album – a track titled ‘Sao Paulo’. Inspired by Femi Koleoso’s time in Brazil, the South American parties the song takes inspiration from translated into a fantastic party scene in the North of England; the audience, perfectly in-tune with the band, danced along as if it was already an Ezra classic. If ‘Sao Paulo’ is anything to go by, the next album looks to improve on this young band’s already esteemed discography.
As you will experience for yourself if you ever have the pleasure of seeing them live, Ezra Collective have an incredible ability to inhale the pure unadulterated joy they gain from creating and playing their music and projecting that fever onto the crowd. Leaving an Ezra Collective gig without an element of awe, accompanied by a larger-than-life grin, is near impossible.
Header image via Ben Sanbrook-Davies