No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band

No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band

No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band - a beautifully balanced set ended with the recent single, the jaunty “Sunshine City”.  An excellent evening of joyful music. 

Elles Bailey & Simeon Hammond Dallas, Omeara, Southwark, 8th March 2022

There are not many artists in the blues world, and all related musical byways that lead to and from it, that create such a warm bond with their fans as the wonderful Elles Bailey.  This was an album launch night, so there’s always a little something special in the air on these types of occasions and hardcore fans probably busted a gut to be there.  All the same, the level of pre-gig conversation was all non-stop admiration and anticipation in equal measure. 

The atmosphere was helped by the stylish surroundings of a new venue for most visitors on the night. Omeara is a cool, intimate sized venue not far from London Bridge, all dark corners and exposed brickwork with a few lethal steps placed here and there in the bar and the narrow auditorium to surprise the wary and unwary in equal measure.  The sound, as might be hoped in a new venue, is excellent.  The stage lighting was, typically, wonderfully moody but perplexing from the photographer’s perspective, with many blind, dark spots on the small stage combined with repeatedly dazzlingly bright (mostly in lurid purples etc) bursts that created a light metering nightmare. 

Opener Simeon Hammond Dallas, a slight, youthful singer maintained the large crowd’s attention with some nicely crafted confessional tunes accompanying herself on acoustic.  She had a lovely, tuneful voice and spoke cheerfully with great confidence to the audience as she gave the background to each folky ramble, predominantly about fellas she’d had a brief entanglement with and then moved on from.  By the sound of it she had no shortage of material for new numbers.  She got a good reception from the good-natured crowd.

There are several reasons why Elles Bailey is one of the fastest rising artists on the scene.  Firstly, she has a simply gorgeous voice that is strong when it needs to be, without screeching and shattering glasses, and seductively coaxing when it goes down a register or two; secondly, she writes good songs and has a sufficient lack of ego and common sense to collaborate with any number of other songwriters to ensure that songs are as well crafted and polished as they can be, resulting in all killer and no filler. Thirdly, she exudes genuine warmth and sincerity in her stage persona.  Add to this an excellent band that has been with her consistently for a few years, including the really excellent guitarist Joe Wilkins, who helps define her sound, and you have a solid gold-winning formula.  

This was a supremely confident and assured performance from the Bristolian.  Wearing her trademark hat and a T-Shirt that said “Choose Love” in big letters the singer spoke about the joy of being reunited with fans during an emotional opening address and proceeded to deliver a powerhouse performance of pretty much all her new album, the superb, “Shining In the Half-Light”, the title track from which opened the show, with Elles accompanying herself on keyboards, which were then whisked away leaving Johnny Henderson to add subtle organ and piano as required.  If you’ve heard the album then you know that it’s full of big numbers; if you haven’t you need to have a listen.  The singer effortlessly moved between bluesy rockers like “Cheats and Liars” and gorgeous ballads like “Different Kind of Love”.  A couple of non-originals were included, Mary Gauthier’s reflective “Mercy Now” and a smooth soulful arrangement of Wilson Pickett’s “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You”.   The performance was enhanced by two of the backing vocalists that appeared on the album, Izo Fitzroy and Silla Mosely, who added a restrained gospel flavour to the numbers.  A beautifully balanced set ended with the recent single, the jaunty “Sunshine City”.  An excellent evening of joyful music. 

  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band
  • No Shining in the Half Light from Elles and her band

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