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Hundreds of Ed Sheeran fans flocked to Newport in South Wales to gaze longingly up at this rapidly rising star play his most intimate show of his current tour. Having performed over three hundred shows in one year, made it to number 3 in the UK Charts, and taken the best British male artist award at the last Brit awards, Sheeran is becoming one of the UK’s more notable solo artists.

Kicking off the show with the lyrically charming ‘Give Me Love’ Sheeran appeared from the wings with a somewhat modest entrance with just a guitar in hand. The staging and lighting was underplayed, with a simplistic orange back screen. Nothing about the 20-year-old exuded ‘pop-star’. However, from the first song, it was clear that it is Sheeran’s blatant talent that has gained him so much popularity. Using just a loop pedal and guitar, Sheeran managed to layer up a diverse range of sounds with ease. By the start of the second song ‘Drunk’ the noise was euphoric and Sheerean had created what sounded like a fully produced and mastered album track with just his voice and guitar.

Performing onstage for 90 minutes, Sheeran needed no band or backing guitarist. This was just Ed Sheeran at his very best. He was articulate between songs as he told stories of his friends and his family, his adventures at music festivals, his time on the road and how he is sometimes called on to perform at family functions.

Someone who hasn’t seen Sheeran perform might assume that the calm and collected young man regularly seen in a humble hoody and jeans, sleeves often pulled over his hands, would lack confidence, that would be a wrong statement. Ed bounded onto stage to an eruption from the fairly small but sold out Hammersmith Apollo crowd and announced that the crowd would be his gospel choir, it is compulsory to sing and “if you don’t know the words, make them up.”

Closing the show with indefinitely the crowds favourite highlights of the show ‘The A Team’ and ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’, and even after fifteen minutes of relentless repetition of the chorus, the crowd still begged for more. With a new album set for release in 2013 and a new tour, next year is set to be a dominating year for Ed Sheeran.

Words and photo: Mike Lewis