Digital, 16 April 2010
Elevating from underground open-mic nights to great heights (which can simply be defined by winning the highly acclaimed Brit Awards Critics’ Choice and recently being named the BBC Sound of 2010), there is always going to be a lot of expectation and hype surrounding 23-year old, fem-tronic, folk-princess Ellie Goulding. A large queue outside Digital snakes along the Brighton promenade two hours before Goudling’s set to go on stage, so why exactly does she generate such a vibrant buzz? Ellie Goulding obtains an aura of effortless style, a humble head of blonde that leaves every young girl enviously wishing to befriend her and her naturally chiseled features, which always bear a wholesome smile, leave every male enchanted. Tonight’s performance was definitely needed to justify her storming, pop domination and why exactly she appeals to just about anyone.
Opening up tonight were Primary 1, a warming techno-tinged Brit act who, despite being hastily dragged together for this tour, were more than admirable as singer Joe’s voice cut through the bizarre layers of smoke billowing from side-stage machines and filling Digital. A definite hit was “The Blues”, a strangely gloomy name for such an upbeat song, where each jazzy electronica musical part charmed punters and potential fans. It’s easy to see yourself jamming to Primary 1 at summer festivals in the near future.
A slinky figure armed with a guitar, the young song-bird Ellie Goulding finally approaches the obscure boxed stage smiling. Overwhelmed and encouraged by the rousing Brightonians, Ellie begins with a b-side ‘Lights’ which the album was decidedly named after and admittedly, it is a shy start but nevertheless, enjoyable. Her trademark feathery, neat and breathy tone is executed perfectly through pop album tracks such as ‘Every Time You Go’ and ‘This Love’. Her collection of all male, backing-band members fill the stage around her beautifully, each member playing erratically, making her presence more visually engaging.
She wakes up the usual mid-set lull by removing the guitar but clasping a drumstick instead, enabling her to move more freely and thunder a beat whilst performing recent chart-hit ‘Under The Sheets’. Her echoing, ethereal, vocal prowess induces a great crowd response as she delicately recites the lines “like all the boys before…” However, the most anticipated song of the night was the set finisher, full bodied with electronic trickery and a techno gloss. ‘Starry Eyed’ left tonight’s sold out crowd chanting in awe. Ellie Goulding concludes with a simple but fitting “thank you”. Tonight’s show full of facial expressions of determination and her lack of idle cheerful chat between songs, show that all this isn’t just a walk in the park for Ellie Goulding, she’s still growing and we shouldn’t claim her to be a musical messiah just yet.
Words by Amber Mellowship