Ellen & the Escapades – The Prince Albert, Brighton - 23/04/12

Ellen & the Escapades – The Prince Albert, Brighton – 23/04/12


Formed in 2009 by Ellen, who roped in a handful of student friends at Leeds College of Music, Ellen & the Escapades have been sitting on their material for a long time. The band only released their debut album All the Crooked Scenes earlier this month (16 April) and are dutifully doing a round of cities.

The band first tasted success when they were selected by BBC Introducing to perform at the Leeds and Reading festivals. In 2010, they won the Q Magazine/Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. Up until their album release, they have spent their time building up a following through playing a slew of festivals and gigs.

The roundabout of hotel rooms and cross-country journeys seem to have taken their toll on the band tonight. Ellen explains to the small Brighton audience in a slow Yorkshire monotone that she’s “knackered” as the band were partying the night before and then had to endure the grim journey from Oldham.

Evidence of their exhaustion is spotted in their physical appearance, they all look a tad pale, but thankfully their music doesn’t seem to suffer. Ellen’s soft vocals encourage a calmness of mind which is greatly appreciated by the few who turned up on this horribly rainy evening.

The raging harmonica in Without You provides both audience and band with a shot of adrenaline and fills the room with good spirit. Although still exciting, this jaunty performances seems incredibly polished which isn’t that surprising considering that they’ve been playing it for an age – it was their first single.

As the band work their way through the rest of album’s tracks, it becomes clear that Ellen is running the show. She is the only band member who engages with the audience, offering nuggets of insights into particular tracks in her tired, unimpressed manner. Although Brighton-based support band The Self Help Group made a point of the poor turnout during their set by threatening to go around the room to find out what each person had for their dinner, Ellen doesn’t make this an issue and instead decides to praise the venue, the cosy upstairs room at The Prince Albert (which the band have played before at The Great Escape Festival). To The Self Help Group’s horror, she only offers them a short thanks before gushing on about their previous support band Paper Aeroplanes. This is the most animated Ellen is all night, and it’s obvious that a close friendship has been established between the two bands.

All the Crooked Scene is the show stealer. The extended intro combines furious guitars and thundering drums; the result is beautifully theatrical. It’s a shame that this hurricane of an intro doesn’t appear on the album version. The song seizes the audience with its emotive appeal and showcases the abilities of each member of the band.

The unanticipated treat of a cover of Tears for Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World is another highlight. A fan chose this cover as part of a Pledge project which helped the band pay for their album. It goes down like a sweet liqueur, and leaves the audience reassessing the capabilities of the band.

Photo Principle Photography http://www.principlephotography.co.uk



God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.