vicar street, dublin
Former Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts has declared that she wants to see 20-year-old flame-haired sensation Ed Sheeran decked out in her self-styled 'Team Ginge' merchandise range. Truth be told, if you weigh up their respective musical oeuvres, Sheeran almost makes Roberts look as avant-garde and progressive as PJ Harvey.
The highly successful new artist has already been deemed one of the leading lights of a new genre, namely 'the new boring' or 'beige pop'. This thinking maintains that Lady Gaga's non-appearance at this year's Brits was a defining moment, as it inadvertently opened the door for Adele, Mumford & Sons and Sheeran to 'steal' the show.
Sheeran is flying very high at a tender age. To be fair, he's in a slightly higher league than the seemingly endless army of X Factor- wannabees.
Vicar St is packed with adoring female fans who've come with their homemade banners and relentlessly scream "I love you" between songs.
Sheeran is massive because he ticks so many boxes. He's catchy enough to be A-listed on daytime radio, while dabbling in collaborations with urban artists like Tottenham grime king Wretch 32, earning him credibility points by default and, of course, a wider audience.
Sheeran's own music clearly owes a lot to Irish troubadour Damien Rice. Apparently, seeing Rice live at the age of 11 had a lasting impact on the boy. He even name checks the singer on You Need Me with the clunky lyric, "I won't stop 'til my name's in lights, stadium heights with Damien Rice."
Ed's Irish cousin Laura Sheehan joins him for an encore of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, possibly the most frequently abused classic song of modern times. While the Sheerans' rendition is admittedly much better than most, it reveals the unashamed mainstream sensibilities of the poster boy for the New Boring.
Bland he might be, but the boy still has talent and he demonstrates it superbly on the clear show highlight, an a cappella version of American spiritual The Wayfaring Stranger.
Even though most of his tunes are as dull as dishwater, they make the likes of Coldplay and Snow Patrol sound like the Throbbing Gristle, Sheeran suggests he might well have enough talent in the tank to be still entertaining his fans when they grow up. However, the chances are he'll still be excruciatingly boring.