If I had to describe my relation to Ellie Goulding’s music, I’d have to tell you that it’s truly a guilty pleasure. It’s very poppy and dance-y and mainstream-y in a way that I secretly love to turn up loud and vibrate to in my car, making other drivers wonder who the moron is with the too-loud music that makes their cars vibrate too. Her more upbeat tunes are masterfully layered against her husky, powerful vocals that make it completely addictive.
And then I got to hear it live…
Tuesday night’s show at the Commodore was a lot of fun. Ellie Goulding coupled with the one-man, New York band St. Lucia made for a good night of good music. St. Lucia and his live band opened the show promptly at 9:30 pm and from song 1 to song 8, they were fantastic. They played a couple of songs I recognized, including “All Eyes on You” and “September”, and even treated the crowd to a new one, “Elevate”. And aside from just having a great, energetic stage presence St. Lucia encouraged us all to clap along, jump around, and then rewarded some lucky audience members with the band’s sweat-soaked towels as they were tossed into the crowd. It was very good.
Despite calling her music my guilty pleasure, even I knew that I’d encounter a number of songs by Ellie Goulding that I hadn’t heard before. I knew a handful – mostly the stuff I hear on the radio when I’m sitting at the dentist office – so I was actually quite surprised to hear her play a few ballads that night. I’m not a huge fan of slow songs unless they’re done exceptionally well (if I reference Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” right now, am I aging myself?) and even then, it’s a bit disruptive in energy to play so many slow songs in a row like “Explosions” and then an acoustic version of “Guns and Horses”. I think the only exception was “Joy” which started off slower and then exploded into a crescendo of awesome that left me with goosebumps.
Don’t get me wrong, ballads or not, Goulding and her band put on an amazing show. And that voice! Husky and powerful, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to see her live. If I had a voice like that I’d be singing everything to everyone. I’d sing my order at McDonald’s. I’d sing to other drivers while I flipped them the bird. She could make getting bad news from your doctor sound awesome, so long as she sang it to you. Admittedly, I was also there to hear “Only You” and “Anything Could Happen”, because they are both on constant rotation in my head whether I’m listening to them or not.
Ellie played almost every song from her latest release, Halcyon and fans were not disappointed. The band was tight and when it was quiet enough, even the crowd could be heard singing along with Ellie. Her rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song” was truly a choral effort with Ellie and the audience crooning along together.
I heard only two critiques that night when I left – I heard a couple of people complain that Ellie’s mic was a bit quiet against the backdrop of instrumentals, and two women who walked out behind me complained that they didn’t think that the crowd was full of true fans because many talked during the whole show. And even though I went to the concert solo and talked to no one, I walked faster to my car for fear that they could smell the lack of “true fan” on me. Thankfully, I escaped unharmed.
Photos of Ellie Goulding © Jamie Taylor
Photos of St. Lucia © Jamie Taylor