Live Review: Ed Sheeran with Foy Vance and Rizzle Kicks at Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD – 29th January 2013
A more respectful bunch of crazies, I have never witnessed. Seriously, Ed Sheeran fans take the cake. I know U2 fans queue for days, but they have a spectacle to see. This is for a boy. And a guitar. And nothing else. Even the venue tweeted a picture of the queue that morning saying it was the earliest they had *ever* had a queue. That’s the crazy. I’ll get to the respectful later.
I’d seen the ginger play five times before, so it was for opening act Foy Vance that I made the hour and a half trek north. I had been warned about the power of his live show, but was still taken by surprise when this Belfast-born, blue-eyed bluesman ripped open my soul. And it wasn’t just me. The sea of youngsters around me embraced his every heartfelt note having never even heard his name before. “I’m in love with that Foy guy” was exclaimed quite near me at the break. So the wisdom from years of honing his craft, the pain and longing that drips through his lyrics and the emotion that tears through his raw delivery transcends age and genre. From the opening notes of ‘I’ve Got Love’ to the soaring sing along of ‘Guiding Light’, Vance won over an audience that had likely never heard of him, and further more probably never would have heard of him if Ed Sheeran hadn’t brought him along for the ride. Cheers to you Mr. Sheeran for taking the incomparable Foy Vance with you through America.
Next on the bill was Rizzle Kicks; a much more simpatico pairing with Sheeran’s style. These Brit School buds went down a treat with the crowd. With ‘Mama Do the Hump’ and ‘Down with the Trumpets’, the duo blasted the largely female crowd with their beats and moves. It didn’t hurt at all that they both sported local sports teams’ shirts – including a Baltimore Raven’s AFC Championship shirt. (The Ravens were set play in this year’s Super Bowl, just days away.) Quite popular at home, Rizzle Kicks are finding a welcoming new audience on these American shores.
But back to that respectful crowd. Girls who scream and faint (yes, two of them went down that I saw) over their favorite singer are not typically known to be the respectful kind. But having seen the man play multiple times now, I am pleased to say that I am most impressed with the crowd he draws. Or perhaps they are all so in love with him that they would do anything for him – including being totally silent. Yes, a gig where the singer asked the audience not to sing along, and NO ONE did. Impressive.
So whether it was a raucous sing along like ‘Drunk’ or a delicate number like the ‘Kiss Me’ duet with Vance, everyone standing there gave it the proper treatment. Sure there was the random ‘I love you’ screamed out, but even that was less than I have seen at other gigs. The encore was particularly special consisting of deluxe album version only song ‘Gold Rush’ – complete with a nod to Bobby McFerrin’s ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’, hidden track ‘The Parting Glass’ and Sheeran’s biggest hit ‘The A Team’.
Ed Sheeran has been on a grueling touring schedule since he broke in mid-2011. He is a talented bloke and an immense performer, I hope for more great things from him. And I honestly hope he gets a bit of a rest soon. Then again, he is only 21. Ahhhh, youth.
After the cut: the set lists.
Foy Vance Set List:
I’ve Got Love
Shed a Little Light
Hope, Peace & Love
Like an Animal
Ed Sheeran Set List:
Give Me Love
Wayfaring Stranger (traditional American folk song)
Be My Husband (Nina Simone cover)
Kiss Me (with Foy Vance)
Wake Me Up
You Need Me I Don’t Need You
The Parting Glass (traditional Irish song)
The A Team