Ellen and the Escapades @ The Lexington 16th April 2012

Ellen and the Escapades are an amazing band who have just released the phenomenal debut album All The Crooked Scenes. The band consisted of Ellen Smith, Chris Quick, Jeff Schneider, James Warrender and Gary who was the newest Escapade. What was performed was an outstanding set which featured every single song from the new, an incredible Tears For Fears cover and a song Ellen wrote especially for her cousins wedding last year. Things kicked off with Paper Aeroplanes. This duo consisted of Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn. Plus they were joined by someone else who played the cello. “Hello. We’re Paper Aeroplanes” Howells said the moment they took to the stage. Opening up the 8 track set was Days We Made. This was mellowing Folk music and Days We Made had a steady pace and was rather gentle. Freewheel was again mainly sung by Sarah with Richard harmonising. The vocals were rather strong and entrancing at the same time. “There’s a lot of you isn’t there? It’s already been a pleasure to be on tour with Ellen and the Escapades for 8 days. We haven’t fallen out yet, that’s good. As if anyone could fall out with them” Howells said before singing Circus. This was a steady paced song which was delivered to perfection. Sarah’s vocals were extremely distinctive. “Well we went to Southend on Sea to make a video for this one. And I quite like Southend on Sea. Is anyone here from Southend on Sea? I thought it had a vintage quality to it. Like if you saw it through an Instagram setting it would be beautiful. This is the reason I don’t speak” Sarah then said before Safe Hands. Howells sang this song beautifully whilst Richard Llewellyn provided some great guitar work and backing vocals to accompany her. Winter Never Comes which followed on was rather hypnotic. After Sarah mentions that there is no coughing allowed during the songs. It was ironic that Howells was the one who coughed during Stones Inside Your Shoes. The penultimate song was Orange Lights which was taken from The Day We Ran Into the Sea. Now I adored this song the lyrics, harmonising and melody were spot on. The short but sweet set came to a close with the catchy My First Love.

SET LIST

Days We Made
Freewheel
Circus
Safe Hands
Winter Never Comes
Stones Inside Your Shoes
Orange Lights
My First Love

Making their way onto the stage at 9.30pm were Ellen and the Escapades. What was set to be showcased was All The Crooked Scenes in its entirety. Run appeared as the B Side to début single Without You. The opening to the song was a instrumental which lasted for round about a minute then the actual song kicked in. This opening number was very chilled out. There is something about Ellen’s vocals which were extremely distinctive. “Thanks for coming out everyone. It feels like a while since we did our own show in London” Smith said before getting stuck into the next song. Without You was the first single released on Branch Out Records in 2009. The very start of this song was acoustic and when the whole band kicked in, this toe tapping number had a rip roaring pace and was very infectious. When The Tide Creeps In was next. This ballad sounded incredible and was very smooth. The vocal performance was outstanding. It actually reminded me of Mumford & Sons. This Ace I’ve Burned was slowed down and was mellowing at the same time. The harmonising by the rest of the band was sublime. The harmonica came into play for this song. “How’s everybody doing? Have you tried our beer? Did you like it? Not as many people said yeah. I thought it was nice. Our audience last night in Leeds drank 4 casks of the stuff. They’re mad up there” Ellen then said to the audience. I’ll Keep You Warm was next. This love song was amazing and the vocals were extremely strong. There was something ever so entrancing about Ellen’s vocals. It was then onto Yours To Keep which appeared on the EP Of All The Times. This track had a bluesy feel to it. “Once someone said to me that their little girl sings Yours Sticky instead of Yours To Keep. Because that’s what she thought it was called. Everytime we play that song all I can think about is a really sticky person. So that ruined that one anyway” Smith then said before launching into the storming Preying On Your Mind. This song was played at a furious pace plus it also sounded like a hoedown. All The Crooked Scenes was one powerful song which had some delightful lyrics. For about a minute there was a furious instrumental. “So we played in Leeds yesterday as part of our album launch. Our album actually comes out today and it’s on iTunes and Amazon as a download. It’s a bit anti climatic for us coz we’ve had the album for a couple of months now” Jeff said to the audience before Ellen went onto say about Pledge Music (which funded the album). “Basically we had this thing were we pledged to raise money to record the album. People pledged us money to get the album in advance. You could get different things, and one of the things that you could buy was for us to cover a song of your choice. So we got this one”. Now what followed was something extremely unique this being their very own take on Tears For Fears Everybody Wants To Rule The World. They made this infectious song their own. The thing I most like about this song is the fact it is a power pop track and it is rather different to Ellen and the Escapades style. “I’m going to do quite a quiet song. Basically my cousin got married about a year ago and she’s like can you write a song for the wedding. And this came out” Smith said before singing the beautiful Always In My Heart. This number does not appear on the album, maybe it’s due to the fact it is a sentimental song (well Ellen did write it for her cousins wedding). Always In My Heart was a mellowing song which was delivered at a steady pace. “Would you be sad if this was our last song? Well it doesn’t have to be. Don’t you think encores are really weird? So we’ll avoid that awkward situation and just carry on playing. If you fancy singing along, like you would do that’s fine. Just don’t clap out of time. I don’t like it” Ellen then mentioned to the audience. The set ended with 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. It was then straight onto the encore. The song to be played first was Stone Bird and the harmonies were very tight. This song was amazing despite not having that many lyrics. “This song we recorded live on the album and I don’t have anything else to say about it. Spoke without thinking” Ellen the said. It was then onto Can’t Make It So and it was delivered to perfection. This was such a beautiful song and it had wonderful lyrics. “Well this is actually going to be our last one. But we have got an album on sale if you want to listen to some more. This song was played for the very first time in front of an audience last night. So it’s still quite terrifying. Hopefully we’ll be back in London soon” Smith said before ending with the belting Cast.

SET LIST

Run
Without You
When The Tide Creeps In
This Ace I’ve Burned
I’ll Keep You Warm
Yours To Keep
Preying On Your Mind
All The Crooked Scenes
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Always In My Heart
Coming Back Home

ENCORE

Stone Bird
Can’t Make It So
Cast

OVERALL: This was one brilliant night. The album All The Crooked Scenes is fantastic and just to hear it played in its full entirety was a real treat. Ellen and the Escapades are a folk band I wish to see again and again. I look forward to seeing them play at the Camden Crawl next month. As for the support act. I had heard of Paper Aeroplanes but never listened to any material by them. But from what they showcased I eagerly anticipate the next time they are in London.

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