Ed Sheeran has sold over 1 million copies of his debut album, "+" outside of the United States; not a bad accomplishment for a 21-year old fella from the United Kingdom. It's my opinion (as well as other artists such as Enter Shikari and letlive.) that Sheeran will be one of the biggest acts to explode this year in the United States; his connection to fellow act One Direction couldn't hurt either, could it?
I went to see Sheeran on a blustery Wednesday evening as part of Snow Patrol's U.S./Canada headlining tour. After watching the live stream of his SXSW Nikon Showcase, I knew I had to make it out to see him in person.
One of the things that sets Ed apart from other singer/songwriters is his utilization of the loop pedal, and boy, does he know how to use it; he uses it to create multiple harmonies/effects to make it seem like he's not the only one standing on stage. Crowd participation was well encouraged, as he had the room form a 'choir' of sorts for his opening song, "Give Me Love"; the all-ages section was far more eccentric and willing to get rowdy, as opposed to a large majority of the older folks in attendance for Snow Patrol, who seemed to have no clue what was going on. The lyrically fast-paced and closing song "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" also encouraged crowd participation, as simple as the chorus was; shouts of "Hell yeah!" and "Yeah Motherfucker Yeah Motherfucker Yeah!" were also part of the call and response shenanigans.
His set was 30 minutes long...but he only played 4 songs. While most people reading this would think that it's absurd that he wouldn't play atleast one or two more songs, they also don't realize that 3 of the 4 songs in his set were dramatically lengthened. And I can appreciate that he would care enough to put such an emphasis on his live set to do that; some artists drone through a few songs and promptly leave the stage.
Sheeran later came out during Snow Patrol's set to perform the song "New York" with vocalist Gary Lightbody; afterwards, he made his way outside of the venue to sign autographs and take pictures with everyone that wanted one.
As mentioned, I believe that between the success he's accumulated throughout this long tour, as well as appearances on Carson Daly, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O' Brian, Ed Sheeran is ready to explode in the United States. Only time will tell how fast his growth will be -- as more and more people check out his debut album, as well as his EP with Yelawolf, his growth is imminent. He mentioned to me that he will be back on a U.S./Canada headliner in the Fall; he also confirmed to me that Portland is a tour date on that headliner, so I definitely will plan on coming back out for a longer set.