Ellen & The Escapades – Pocktoberfest, Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire, 28th October 2012 2

Ellen & The Escapades – Pocktoberfest, Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire, 28th October 2012

On the day that British Summer Time ends you can suddenly start to sense that real success for Ellen Smith and her four Escapades may be just about to begin. One album, one EP and five singles into a three and half year career their cover of R Kelly’s The World’s Greatest has already provided triumphal accompaniment to fellow Leeds alumni Nicola Adams’ Olympic gold medal celebrations and their consistently rising star means that they can now put a line through the whole of next March having already secured the support slot on The Travelling Band’s next British tour.

Ellen & The Escapades ~ 2

Seeing and hearing Ellen & The Escapades for the third time in as many months at a local festival and despite the geographical proximity of all three events what strikes you most is just how far they have travelled in such a comparatively short space of time.  From the relative awkwardness and hesitancy of their performance in the Lake Stage tent at Deer Shed in July through the drizzling August Bank Holiday rain on the main stage at Galtres they may well still find themselves in that thankless mid-afternoon berth but the sheer development of their musical cohesion, confidence and power in the interim flies in the face of that apparently erroneous piece of scheduling.

Here at Pocklington’s ninth annual celebration of all things beer and music in what once was this small market town’s old railway station building, Ellen & The Escapades open their set with the instantly rousing title track from their debut album All The Crooked Scenes and close it some fifty minutes later, and quite fittingly, with the final track from that record, a splendidly euphoric rendition of Cast where the suppressed majesty of Jeff Schneider’s guitar is the perfect counterpoint to the rising intensity of Ellen Smith’s voice.  The song is also one which is at stark odds to the tradition of a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Ellen & The Escapades ~ 6
Across the shifting sands of their musical landscape, Ellen & The Escapades are now starting to move much more effortlessly between the various strata of new country, folk and a lighter shade of rock, imbued as it is with much a heightened belief and understanding of each other.  One of the two new songs played this afternoon remains true to the band’s original Music from the Big Pink guideline and would not have been at all out of place as a bonus track on a remastered Basement Tapes whilst the other, I Need You and despite its false start in the wrong key, is charged with a far greater rock sensibility.  Perhaps the biggest revelation though is Smith’s voice.  Much bolder, it’s beautifully controlled waver is never more assured than on The World’s Greatest, where the indomitable spirit of the original is now infused with a gentle humility and vulnerability that enables Ellen & The Escapades to make this song their very own.
Ellen & The Escapades ~ 8
Earlier on Run, Smith, staring out into the middle distance of this grand Victorian building her voice a quite exquisitely burnished, tremulous instrument of uncertainty asks how long must you perform to the ones who won’t hear anymore. On this constantly evolving body of evidence she and her Escapades need not worry too much on that score as you feel that their time may just be about to come.

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.