17 January 2018 (gig)
18 January 2018
Playing support to a band such as Climax Blues Band means playing to an unfamiliar audience and one whose tastes may not automatically encompass the style of Bristol’s finest.
On the occasion, Elles Bailey knocked it out of the park and won a lot of new friends in the process.
She had her full band on stage with her including keyboardsman Jonny Henderson and her usual bandmates Joe Wilkins on guitar, Matthew Jones on drums, Zak Ranyard on bass and from the opening number ‘Wildfire’ she had the crowd attentive and crowding close to the stage to take in a superb performance. Wilkins slide on the opening especially drew a lot of very positive nods.
Elles herself claimed to be all over the place but when it came down to it, her vocals were spot on and the band was playing up a storm.
The setlist included a few that have become crowd favourite – ‘Same Flame’ & ‘Perfect Storm’ wend down particularly well, the crowd was bopping along to ‘Shackles Of Love’ and she got them screaming along to ‘Let Me Hear You Scream’.
There were two new numbers and ‘Weary Bones’ – a slow and intense Blues that really got to the soul of some of the crowd – and ‘What’s The Matter With You’ – being played as a band for the first time ever(!) – suggest that the next album will be as strong as ‘Wildfire’.
She closed on her tribute to Janis Joplin ‘ Girl Who Owned The Blues’ and at the end there were plenty of calls for an encore from the audience.
Elles is definitely growing as an artist and while playing support may look like a retrograde step she is following a well worn path to building an audience and winning hearts and minds with every performance.
It is invidious to make comparisons but I would say that I saw Beth Hart when she was at a similar stage and Elles Bailey definitely has the voice and stage persona to take her up to those heights.