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Secret? Until the Avalon stage makes a big deal of having booked The Joshua Trees, there can’t be a more obvious secret set than Gold Rush Kid on the John Peel Stage. His official announcement a few hours ago was a bit like a governmental press release declaring Brexit rubbish – the Ezra-ites have been camping out all morning for a set of sun-kissed Sunday vibes that, considering the crush, is about as laid-back as the only sunny lockdown bank holiday on Bournemouth beach.
Ezra – an unpretentious and genuinely endearing purveyor of vaguely soulful and tropical Radio 2 pleasantness – nonetheless makes the entire field, inside and out, feel part of his beach-side barbecue of song. “Cassy O” is a hearty country pop jig, “Listen to the Man” the softest of soft reggae and “Hold My Girl” a stirring glower ballad. The shimmer of “Barcelona” sounds like Hertford flesh sizzling gently in the Catalonian sun, while “Green Green Grass” even comes with a story of stumbling across a funeral party in St Lucia, so close is Ezra to becoming the soft pop Judith Chalmers.
The much anticipated party really kicks off with “Paradise” and the crowd groove gently through the closing third, relishing the steel drum carnival that breaks out during “Blame it on Me” – otherwise a less corny Mumford & Sons – and probably breaking records for mass yodelling on “Budapest”.
“Shotgun”, dedicated to the people under rocks on Mars who “didn’t get the memo” about Ezra’s appearance, sends us drifting cheerily off towards Diana Ross feeling, a little smugly, like someones.