(Photo by Erik Kabik)
“I’m telling you, you need to see him.”
It’s after 2:00 am Saturday morning. I’m standing by the XS pool at Encore Hotel with a friend discussing the concert he just finished.
“It’s just him, his guitar, and a loop.”
Skrillex is behind us mixing his debut studio album “Recess” for the sold-out Las Vegas crowd. I’m still skeptical; but I agree to attend the second night of Ed Sheeran’s concert run at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Aside from the fact that he has had a relationship with UK singer Ellie Goulding; I know nothing about the messy red-haired twenty-something except that he looks like he owns three shirts.
Per Jon O’Brien, [Sheeran]was born in Halifax, West Yorshire, England 1991. Releasing his first EP, ‘The Orange Room’, while still in school, and his next two albums by the age of 16. With the help of YouTube views, and a watchful eye by Jamie Foxx, [Sheeran] eventually secured a deal with Elton John’s management company and signed with Atlantic Records.
Today, Saturday August 30th, I think, I’m ready to expect the unexpected.
The stage is stripped clean of nothing but five amps surrounding two microphones. The downtime between an opening set by Rudimental and Ed Sheeran’s first steps onto the stage is fairly short. However I was told that the initial load-in took a long time ‘for a guy with just a few guitars.’
But I could see why. The lighting and stage production is the best I have yet to see in Las Vegas. The Chelsea, Cosmopolitan’s concert venue is in rare form.
Sheeran positions himself in front of what looks like his ‘back-up’ microphone and begins to hum. He looks at ease in front of the sold-out crowd (mostly thousands of screaming teenagers) wearing an unbuttoned red flannel over a black shirt, dark jeans, and high-top Jordan’s. The hum is then looped. He begins to thump on the face of the acoustic guitar with his fist creating a pulsating bass line. And at this very moment, I understood the hype.
Sheeran’s concert run is in support of his latest release, “X”; an eclectic blend of acoustic, pop, and hip-hop produced by Rick Rubin and Pharrell. Though he didn’t short the crowd of his major hits; “Don’t”, “Sing”, and “I See Fire”. The song that stuck-out however was “Bloodstream”. A hybrid of folk notes and modern R&B lyrics that rival The Weeknd and Drake’s late night tales.
I’ve got to admit, my friend was right. Sheeran is onto something. And that something is pretty great.
Taj Simpson is OLE MASON JAR's Director of Music and Lifestyle who lives in Las Vegas, NV. Always dressed for the right occasion, Taj also has a keen ear for the right sound...keeping us at the forefront of the music scene, and in tune with the freshest tracks and artists you may / or may not have heard of.