Ellie Goulding is the recent recipient of the Critics Choice Award and finished top of the BBC's Sound of 2010 poll. With her 10 track debut album 'Lights' ready to dispense, the room that was half full 15 minutes beforehand was now packed front to back. As expected, the audience was occupied by those who looked like extras from a Skins production, but more surprising, and equally nice to see, was the older Ellie fans that had turned out.
Entering with her band she took centre stage conveying a subtle smile, as she positioned her guitar, and cued the intro to the album cover; 'This Love'. Instantly I was captivated, with Ellie's angelic voice sounding just as good throughout the album as it did live; soft yet powering. It was hard not to feel drawn in by her presence and shy confidence. Immediately there was an aura of intimacy as Ellie addressed the audience, overwhelmed that she was now touring as a headliner and no longer the support act.
By now I had made my way through a deep crowd and had waggled within a few feet of the stage barriers. I was directly in Ellie's line of vision and felt the sincerity in her lyrics as she delivered a more acoustic first half of the hour long performance. As she rattled through 'Every Time You Go' and 'Guns and Horses', it was evident that at 23, she is an amazing song writer and brilliant live performer.
Taking to the front of a space confined platform with a single drum, Ellie energetically pounded out the intro to 'Under the Sheets'. The angelic persona and acoustic section of the set was now upstaged by a fired up Ellie Goulding. With beads of sweat dripping from Ellie's brow, and the exchange of wry smiles between her and the keys player, it was obvious the finale would prompt a dramatic change in tempo.
Reciprocating her on stage energy, the punters now had something to dance about. However the climax was soon cut short as Ellie and her band exited from off the stage, signalling an end to the gig with an appreciative wave of thanks. Yes, this was an elaborate hoax, one that only lasted the guts of a minute. It would have been unthinkable for the songstress to have left the stage prematurely.
An extended version of 'Starry Eyed' was undoubtedly the highlight of the night. The 400 strong gathering sang along in unison, with Ellie reversing the microphone for the audience to chant out the chorus. She too sang from the heartstrings as she clutched the mic stand and belted out to the heavens. Note for note she was perfect and had the backing of a young band that performed like they'd been gigging together for years.
The night resulted in meeting Ellie's band as they were boarding their tour van outside Katy Daly's. Cheery and in high spirits they offered me some cheese that had been stocked onto the bus for their travels. However taking my personal safety into consideration, and fearing another elaborate hoax, I declined with a smile.
I look forward to a second Ellie Goulding encounter come festival season.