Elles Bailey plus support from Morganway
First up tonight is Morganway, a band I have recently come across, and when finding out they were supporting tonight, we made a special effort in getting here to have a look, and to be honest very impressed. After Elles herself forever pushing new talent, appeared on stage to introduce them, asking all in the crowd to give them their full attention and not have a chit chat, as it turned out it was wasted words. As Morganway’s performance demanded full attention, this is a band worth watching, even without a drummer! Fronted by S J Mortimer, who has a superb set of pipes, and backed by brothers Keiran and Callum Morgan, with Nicole Terry brilliant on fiddle, it was a cracker of an opening act. Their own Americana/rock-tinged material is quality, and they even threw in a unusual version of Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’. Coming back to Brum in April, I would put money on a fair amount of the crowd here tonight will be there. We will be.
We have been trying to get to see Elles Bailey for a while now, but the planets never lined up. At last we get to see this highly awarded singer, up close, touring supporting her latest album 2022s ‘Shining In The Half Light’, reaching number 42 in the UK charts no less, and which is even being released as a deluxe version this week with extra live tracks. And boy we weren’t disappointed. The quality of songwriting is fantastic, she seems to be going from strength to strength. Elles has matured into a supremely confident performer, super confident and humorous with explanation of song inspirations to the crowd in the upgraded KK’s. With a mix of bluesy, soul, tunes, she continued to entrance the crowd and gives us a couple of her own favourites including ‘Colours Start To Run’ from her debut album ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Halfway House’ from the current, before at one point joining the crowd with a walk through whilst singing to them, before returning to the stage. Her band is fantastic, everyone on their game, and on backing vocals was Demi Mariner, whom Elles informs us has her own debut album coming out in July, with a few dates at the same time. One being Birmingham and is duly given a small spot just to show us how good she is just to whet our appetite. Impressive, one to keep an eye on we think.
Amongst other gems were the title track off the album and two fantastic covers, including CCR’s ‘As Long As I Can See The Light’ and a song by Mary Gauthier ‘Mercy Now’, which she describes as one of the best song ever written. Both delivered with so much emotion, it was palpable, before finishing with ‘Sunshine City’, an impeccable performance of a class band with an exceptional singer. Elles will be playing some festivals later in the summer, hopefully we will get to see her again soon.
Photos by Geoff Griffe
Review by Jenny Griffe