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Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran

When: Tue., Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $59.50
The rise of Ed Sheeran might seem improbably swift, but bear in mind that this baby-faced Brit has benefited from anticipating the next step in the natural evolution of the singer-songwriter. Part dorm-room troubadour and part hip-hop-savvy savant, he presents himself as the kind of guy who’ll give a woman a shoulder to cry on and an inspirational Lil’ Kim verse to kick-start her confidence. His recent album X (Asylum/Atlantic) is a leap forward from his 2011 debut, which put him on the lips of pop-radio programmers (and of Taylor Swift, who worked with him on on her 2012 single “Everything Has Changed”); it more fully blends the swagger of New Jack Swing with the sensitive-guy poses of bland adult-contempo outfits such as Snow Patrol and the Fray. “Don’t,” Sheeran’s current single, efficiently encapsulates his appeal: a collaboration with pop producer Benny Blanco and authenticity wizard Rick Rubin, it borrows its insistent boom-bap from “No Diggity” and its scorned-lover attitude from emo’s most caustic breakup anthems. Sheeran is playing arenas this go-round, but his setup remains stripped-down—he’ll be onstage with only his guitar and loop pedal, though the besotted fans who’ve made him an unlikely pop idol will likely provide some assistance on vocals. —Maura Johnston
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