Ellen and the Escapades @ The Bowery 4th October 2011

Ellen Smith, Chris Quick, Jeff Schneider, James Warrender and Andy Calder make up Ellen & The Escapades. It had been a year since I had last saw this 5 piece play at 6 Fest. I was so impressed that they were in the forefront of my mind and I really wanted to witness them play live again. Once I saw that they were playing at The Bowery this was definately a must for me. Support was provided by both Cara Sebastian and Emily and the Woods. It was so hot during those first two acts I chose to sit down on the floor. For some reason they didn’t stick the air con on until Ellen and the Escapades started to play their set.

It was 9.40 and the band then took to the stage. “You alright?” Ellen said before the band launched into opening song Run. This track appeared as the B Side to debut single Without You. The opening to the song was a instrumental which lasted for round about a minute then the actual song kicked in. Run is pure Folk and was very chilled out. There was something about Ellen’s vocals which were extremely distinctive. “Thanks so much for coming out, This next song is called Without You” Smith then said to the intimate audience. The very start of this song was acoustic and then when the whole band kicked in this toe tapping number became more uptempo and infectious. Now Without You was the first single released on Branch Out Records back in 2009 and it is one hell of a song. The use of the harmonica was amazing. It was then onto Preying On Your Mind and this song is taken from the debut EP All Of The Times. This upbeat song sounded like a hoedown. A broken string then resulted in Ellen swapping guitars.  “That has never happened to me before” she said after Preying On Your Mind. After the lengthy change of guitars/ tuning up it was then onto This Ace I’ve Burned. “Hello Again that is what happens when you can’t afford a guitar tech” Smith said before starting the next song. This Ace I Burned was slowed down and was mellowing at the same time. The harmonising by the rest of the band was sublime. Again the harmonica came into play. It was then onto a new song which I hadn’t heard before and this being I’ll Keep You Warm. This love song was amazing and the vocals were extremely strong. There was something ever so entrancing about Ellen’s vocals. Up next was the new single When The Tide Creeps In which is out 24th October. This ballad sounded incredible and was very smooth. It definately shows alot of promise and the vocal performance was again outstanding. I was actually reminded of Mumford & Sons. Next it was onto A Promise which was an old song. This song had a bluesy feel to it. All The Crooked Scenes was up next and this being a brand new song which will feature on the untitled debut CD which will be released in 2012. This song had a furious tempo to it and it makes me anticipate hearing the other material from the album. “This is going to be our last song, no big deal we’ll pretend like it’s our last song” Smith then said before plugging The Lexington gig next month. Ending the set was the bands second single and this being Coming Back Home. I found this song to be rather beautiful and the lyrics/ melody were rather mellowing. Towards the end everyone started to sing along and clap in unison. I know this song featured on the bands debut EP All Of The Times but based on the fact it was a crowd pleaser it has to feature on the debut album. After there were chants for a encore. “Alright guys” Ellen then went onto say. It was on then onto Can’t Make It So and it was delivered to perfection. This was such a beautiful song and had wonderful lyrics. The song was actually made as a free track if you subscribed to the bands mailing list. “This is just a bit of fun” Ellen then went onto say before they launched into a cover. This being The Weight which was originally by The Band. Vocally they were outstanding and the harmonising was fantastic. The thing I liked was it wasn’t just Ellen singing this upbeat song.

SET LIST

Run
Without You
Preying On Your Mind
This Ace I’ve Burned
I’ll Keep You Warm
When The Tide Creeps In
A Promise
All The Crooked Scenes
Coming Back Home

ENCORE

Can’t Make It So
The Weight

OVERALL: I enjoyed my evening at The Bowery. Ellen and the Escapades have something extremely special and if you are a fan of Folk then this band is for you. They actually remind me of Mumford & Sons down to the fact that they gel well as a band and the harmonising is spot on. Throughout the set I was left captivated and the huskiness in Ellen’s vocals were fantastic. Now the debut EP All Of The Times was a right corker and I fully expect the debut album to be the same. Judging from the material showcased there is no doubt in my mind that this will happen. This is probably the only album I’m eagerly anticipating. The band have even started their own Pledge campaign on PledgeMusic where fans can pre order the album and purchase other Ellen and the Escapades mementos. At present they are up to 77% and the pledge only opened a couple of days ago. The support on the night was provided by Cara Sebastian and Emily and the Woods. I would definately would love to hear more material from them both.

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