The iTunes Festival takes place at Camden’s Roundhouse over the space of 30 days. This year it took place in September due to the Olympics which happened throughout August. 2012’s Festival saw names such as Usher, Lana Del Rey, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Muse to name but a few headline at the Roundhouse. For the past 3 years I have been extremely lucky to win (last year I attended both Bruno Mars and My Chemical Romance) but despite me entering for different sessions I did not win a single thing. Now that was kind of disappointing considering there were some that I wanted to attend and when you see tickets being sold on eBay it feels gutting that someone could do that. One that I really wanted to attend was Ellie Goulding and I was very fortunate that one of my friends had a friend who had won tickets and she kindly said that I could take her place instead. Cue excitement.
Being a massive Ellie Goulding fan resulted me turning up at 10am in the morning. Early I know, but if you are massive fan you want to be at the barrier close to the musician that you like. Fast forward to 3pm the person who I was +1 for arrived and he joined me in the queue. What he neglected to say was the fact he purchased the ticket off eBay and how the ticket was not in his name (why he resulted in buying a ticket I do not know because there is NO WAY round the ID thing). Even though I appeared to be cool about the whole thing by telling myself it will all be fine, deep inside I was fuming because I had been queuing in the cold rain for 5 hours because I wanted to be right at the front. Round about 6pm the person I was with was chucked out and put in standby. At that precise moment in time I was strongly considering just leaving and going to another gig as I didn’t want my whole day wasted. I could of stayed and got in through standby but being right at the back would of hurt. In a twist of fate one of my Ellie friends managed to get on the guest list as well as winning a pair of tickets. Frankly she save my bacon by getting me in via the tickets then her friend in via the guest list and for that I am utterly grateful. Once inside the doors were open straight away. I got to the barrier and everyone sat down until the first band Haim took to the stage.
Haim took to the stage at 7.45pm and I was looking forward to the bands set. I had heard positive praise which resulted in me booking for the KCSLU before actually witnessing any of their music live. This Californian three piece consisted of 3 sisters Alana Haim, Danielle Haim and Este Haim as well as drummer Dash Hutton. Already they have signed to Polydor Records, they have a short jaunt around the UK this November as well as being the main support for the Florence + The Machine tour. The style of the music that they sing is Folkish and it sounded amazing. What was showcased was a mixture of new material and songs which featured on the Forever EP. Things kicked off with Better Off which features on the EP. At first it started off as an a capella before the drum kicked in. The vocals were sweet and the chorus was smooth and utterly contagious. It was then onto Honey And I which was the first taster of brand new material. This was song which had excellent harmonies and Irish band Heathers. This tune was stunning and it makes me look forward to more material by them. “What the fuck is up London? I can’t believe we’re here actually. This is pretty epic for us you guys. From 3 valley kids from LA to coming to London and playing the Roundhouse is pretty fucking crazy” Este said to the packed audience. “I think everyone’s enjoying it. Everyone clapped so everyone must be having a good time. Either that or like my tampon string is showing and my boobs are showing” she then went onto say despite her sister trying to get her to watch what she was saying. “Do I have to be proper now that I’m in London? I don’t think so. I don’t really give a shit y’all. I’m here lets party” Este then said before the band launched into The Wire. This was an epic song which sounded phenomenal. There was a rock vibe to it with addition of excellent vocals which were delivered to perfection. I really liked the melody of this tune and everyone clapped in unison to the beat. “We’ve got a new one for you. I mean there probably all kind of new but this is the newest one we play” Danielle mentioned to the crowd and the song which was up was Falling. This is a rather promising song which was delivered at a smooth pace. Vocally it was extremely powerful. Once over there was more banter by Este. This time she was flirting with Martin who was on the barrier. “Boom, I just gave my phone number out. It happens, that’s my real phone number you can text me late. And I’m not changing my number. Hello America. Hi Mum, Hi Dad” Este said shocking both Alana and Danielle as she gave out her number on a live stream. It was actually her real number as it comes from the Van Nuys area which is a city in the Californian state. Oh Well followed on and this being a Fleetwood Mac cover. This take was extremely rocky and they made it their own. “Whose excited for Ellie Goulding tonight? We are huge Ellie fans, it’s an honour to play with her” Alana then told the crowd. Danielle then introduced the next song as Go Slow. As the title suggests this was a slow paced song which sounded entrancing. Each of the girls take lead for parts of the song. The harmonies were luscious. It was then onto the bands favourite song and this being the title to the current EP and this being Forever. This tune had lyrics which you just want to sing and dance along to. Forever was a breezy and cheerful song which was ever so entrancing. The moment I was witnessing it live in front of me I fell in love straight away. “Thank you guys so much, this is truly like a really really big deal for us. Thank you guys so much for being so nice and listening. Truly it’s unbelievable” Danielle then said before Este took a picture of the crowd on Martin’s phone. The set was then capped off with Let Me Go which was a stunning song with some impressive guitar playing.
Honey And I
Ellie Goulding took to the stage at 9pm. This was the first time she had performed songs from sophomore album Halcyon. The set was a preview of what was to come. Prior to the gig the only two new Ellie songs I heard were Hanging On (which featured Tinie Tempah) and lead single Anything Could Happen. I found both of those songs to be slow growers and I feared what Halcyon would sound like. Just hearing the 30 second previews of each song put my fears at bay. So at 9pm Goulding took to the stage wearing a black hoodie which covered her face. It was Don’t Say A Word and at first it began as a chant which was then followed by a stunning vocal performance. This was a sweet sounding song with a fantastic middle 8. From this number I knew that the style of the album would be different when compared to Lights. “Good evening everyone. This song is called Figure 8” Ellie said engaging with the packed out crowd. Figure 8 is one of my many favourites from Halcyon. This immediately stands out and has impeccable lyrics which ooze plenty energy. Its chorus was packed with a punch. Nearing the end Goulding lowered her hood to reveal her braided hair. “How is everyone? “I can’t tell you how good it is to be here guys. It’s been a while” Ellie said before getting stuck into Salt Skin which was taken from the début album Lights. Now I loved this song but this time round it was missing its epicness. My favourite part previously had to be the drum battle between Maxwell and Ellie. Still this tune was faultlessly delivered. “So a lot of these songs are quite new songs from my new album. Hope that’s OK. Feels nice to play them for the first time. This next song is my favourite song from the new album” Goulding said before My Blood. This was a beautiful ballad with a catchy hook and a sombre melody. “I’m a bit out of breath. This is not like me. Getting old. Only joking. I don’t usually skip around on stage. That’s a new thing. I quite like that” Ellie mentioned to the crowd before launching into another Halcyon track and this emotional power ballad Joy. This sickly sweet song had lovely lyrics backed with a soothing melody. “This is one of the first songs I wrote for my new album quite a while ago” Goulding said before singing another one of my favourite from Halcyon and this being Explosions. Just like Joy this was another emotional ballad. Explosions was delivered at a gentle pace and at the same time I found it to be entrancing. “You guys are really nice, listening to my new songs with me. This is a first for me as well” Ellie said before taking on a cover to a rapture of applause. This being Elton John’s Your Song which was a hit for Goulding Christmas 2010. This was a lovely ballad and Chris Ketley was on the piano. Whenever I hear this I immediately think of Christmas and John Lewis. Your Song turned out to be a massive sing along plus its lyrics were a tad emotional.
“This next song is also a new song. I’ve got my little booklet here. God I’m so geeky tonight aren’t I? I’m like so un Rock ‘n’ Roll, I can’t even throw water on you cos I’m a little bit shy. I might later” Ellie said before launching into another early song which was written for Halcyon and this being I Know You Care which features in the film Now Is Good. This was a break up ballad which was rather mellowing. “You may or may not know this next song. Put your lighters up if you have one” Goulding said before getting stuck into the slushy song from Lights and this being The Writer. This swooning ballad is about not changing for anyone and is incredibly beautiful. “Right is everyone good? That’s my commanding loud voice” Ellie energetically said to the crowd before another new song and this being Only You. This tune can easily get you moving and the lyrics are really catchy. It also sounded like a chipmunk is singing parts of this number. After Ellie was frantically banging her drumskin in front of her and this then was gelled to Under The Sheets which was her début single. I even found myself singing along to the superb chorus. “So this next one. If you know it I want you to move as much as you possibly can. Pretend that you’ve got to burn off as many calories as you can in the next 3 minutes. That could work in theory” Goulding said before the latest single Anything Could Happen which turned out to be a right crowd pleaser. This was a synth song with an infectious beat. Anything Could Happen has grown on me a lot and I simply adore it. I found this to be very uplifting which made me feel happy inside. What followed after was the albums title track and this being Halcyon. This tune showed plenty of promise and was one of my favourites when I heard the previews. Halcyon was a song that everyone enjoyed and it was delivered at a fast pace. “I haven’t done this song for ages but I like doing it cos it sort of makes me dance uncontrollably” Ellie said before going straight into Animal. This was delivered perfectly and it had a powerful chorus. This song does get you moving as the beat was amazing. Things ended with the energetic and infectious Starry Eyed. After Goudling went off stage only to return moments later for an encore which consisted of the beautiful Gouldsmith song Dead In The Water and then things were wrapped up with Lights.
Don’t Say A Word
I Know You Care
Under The Sheets
Anything Could Happen
Dead In The Water
OVERALL: Despite everything with the whole ticket débâcle I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to witness this incredible gig. Yes I could of watched the live streaming on the iTunes website but I preferred the atmosphere.
This was the first time I had witnessed Haim and from the material they showcased I reckon I have found my new favourite band. Even though they only have the 3 track Forever EP to their name the prospect of more songs excites me. Every single track which was performed live were right crackers. I predict a bright future and the support slot for Florence + The Machine will see them gain brand new fans.
Finally as for Ellie Goulding, I have been a fan since 2009 and I have witnessed Ellie evolving. Lights was an incredible album which featured stunning tracks and I didn’t know if Halcyon would match up to the début album. But I fell in love with the new songs instantaneously.