Ellie Goulding shines her light over Vancouver
‘Lights’ singer Ellie Goulding made a stop at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, B.C., on Feb. 5, 2013, as part of her Halcyon tour. (Anil Sharma/Special to CTV News)
Darcy Wintonyk, CTV British Columbia
Published Wednesday, February 6, 2013 9:06AM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 6, 2013 10:05AM PST
It’s been a few big years for British songstress Ellie Goulding. Like, really big.
Following the breakout success of her 2010 debut album, which spawned the hit ‘Lights,’ the singer has toured with Katy Perry, played about 100 festivals, dated the much-maligned dubstep artist Skrillex, toured yet again, and then, oh yeah, sang at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding reception at Buckingham Palace.
The 26-year-old’s sophomore album, Halcyon, was released last fall to mostly positive reviews on both sides of the pond, and is the focus of her current North American tour, which landed at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom for a sold-out performance Tuesday night.
Clad in a black baggy t-shirt, second skin black pants and wedge booties, Ellie banged the drums on her percussion kit as she opened with ‘Don’t Say a Word.’
Most of the material at the Vancouver show came from her recent EP, including the stompy number ‘Figure 8,’ and the title track, ‘Halcyon.’
With a musical style sometimes compared to the likes of Adele, Lykke Li and Kate Nash, Goulding hit the crowd with layers upon layers of electronically-fused, super-sweet pop. But what’s normally strung together with a powerful and piercing vibrato came off a bit muted at times, some songs not always seeming to hit the range she’s known for. This could be attributed to the breakneck pace of the North American tour – Vancouver was her 15th show in just 21 days.
Her backing band infused energy into ‘Only You’ and ‘Under the Sheets,’ arguably two of the songs that have cemented Ellie as a force in the electronic scene and made her a darling to the DJs who love to remix those growly and dreamy vocals. Included in that list is Calvin Harris, who produced ‘I Need Your Love’ on the new album, which features some very catchy piano lines, punctuated with lots of synthesizers.
Perhaps the most emotional performances of the night came from the ones stripped down from the auto tune, heavy beats and production values. Ellie ditched the band and picked up her guitar during ‘Guns and Horses,’ letting loose an acoustic version that may or may not have brought tears to the eyes of my good friend Todd, who would have proposed to her right there and then, had a very large security guard not stood in his way.
Her cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song,’ which by the way she sang on the 700th episode of Saturday Night Live, turned into a three-minute heartfelt sing-along.
It wasn’t down tempo for long, with the set transitioning into quicker paced dance hits like the single ‘Anything Could Happen,’ which has reached top 10 on the Canadian charts. The anthem, which is backed by a gospel-chorus of rising delivery, emitted squeals of joy from the crowd.
A dubstep ending to the song ‘Lights’ during the encore could very well be a nod to ex-love Skrillex, who could be said to be an influence on her music of late (for a real dubstep treat, listen to the Bassnectar remix of ‘Lights.’ Seriously).
The final verdict? The album Halcyon, with its eclectic mix of electronic dance-y jams and pared down folksy ballads, has carved out Ellie’s spot in the hearts of dance and pop lovers alike. Oh, and Vancouver fans too, who think this English rose is more than a passing fancy. And she seems to like us too, telling the crowd: “I’m obsessed with your accent.” As are we Ellie, as are we.
Ellie plays in Portland Wednesday night before wrapping up her tour in California next week. Tickets available at Ticketmaster.ca.