Line-up: Lindsay Ell with special guest Jake Morrell
Date: 16th October, 2018
Location: The Borderline, London
Review by: Gary Smith (LCM)
Concerts by Canadian singer-songwriter Lindsay Ell are always very special and her recent headline performance at The Borderline in London was no exception. Playing solo to a full house Lindsay captivated the audience with her superb guitar playing and catchy highly crafted songs. Unfortunately just before she flew to the UK Lindsay had most of her equipment stolen in Los Angeles, with one of the few survivors being her trusty Fender ‘Hector’.
First up was the young fast rising UK Country star London based, Norfolk born Jake Morrell rocking double denim and his acoustic guitar. An excellent set followed with Jake powerful vocals front and center. ‘Heading For Heartache’, ‘Long Way Round’ followed from his March released second EP ‘Englishman’ themed around Jake’s country music life in the UK. It was followed by the very good ‘Wire & Thorns’ from his ‘The Greenline’ EP, which received lots of BBC Radio 2 airplay and earned Jake a invite to play at Glastonbury. The pace slowed a little for ‘Once He Left You’ and a reflective new song about his parents ‘Half Your Love’, set for release next year. It was then the audiences turn to join in on the chorus on Jake’s song ‘Signs’ and then very neatly ending with the title track of his latest EP ‘Englishman’. Jake is definitely one to watch for the future.
After a short break Lindsay took to the stage with her Fender ‘Hector’ and a borrrowed pedal board loop station. She confessed that London was her favourite audience, which naturally received a very warm reception from the packed crowd. She used the loop station to great effect building her loops quickly and effortlessly. Lindsay is a top quality multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and this was a excellent showcase for her music.
Lindsay started her set with the very catchy opening track ‘Waiting For You’ from her debut album ‘The Project’. The whole audience singing along and providing the backing vocals. Appreciating what we have in life and being content with that is the central theme of ‘Castles’, which was inspired by her work on the ‘Continuum project. I also loved the rockier ‘Wildfire’ with it’s earworm of a guitar riff and a fantastic solo. It really reminded me of vintage Sheryl Crow.
The very catchy ’Champagne’ written about the wife of Justin Timberlake is one of my favourite songs of Lindsay’s debut album, so it was great to see included in her set. Another excellent song Mint’ is a love song about how a relationship is not always going to be a movie screen relationship, where you're getting flowers every day and everything is so sunny. It talks about a relationship being ‘real’ with just two people getting to know each other and that’s your version of perfect. Your version of mint. Lindsay finished the song with (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, which end giving the song a new twist. Lindsay has a great ability to write very memorable songs, full of excellent hooks and the next one ‘Good’ was a very example.
Another one of my favourites ‘I Don’t Trust Myself (with Loving You)’ from the new ‘The Continuum Project’ saw the introduction of a drum machine on Lindsay’s iPhone. She then asked for requests. Someone shouted ‘Hit Me Baby (One More Time)’ which was greeted by “Really??….ok then” seeing her slipping into a wonderful Britney cover on her acoustic guitar once again joined by the audience in full voice.
Lindsay said that she was a big Vamps fan and had recent co-written a song ‘Stumble Home’ which is now part of the new Vamps album. We were then treated to her 2016 hit the more Country flavoured ‘All Aright’. Lindsay has also just been on tour with the great Keith Urban. The next song ‘Horses’ was recorded with Keith for his latest album. Written by another very talented Nashville based singer-songwriter Caitlyn Smith, the wonderful ‘Space’ was a atmospheric, personal and reflective addition to the set.
The last song of the main set and a another highlight was her recent big hit ‘Criminal’. Lindsay comments “It's a love song. It talks about, I feel like I'm falling in love with you so much that you're stealing my own heart away from me."
For Lindsay’s encore we had something very special. ‘Not Another Me’ was written for one of her friends. Lindsay comments “A sweet friend of mine has muscular dystrophy and honestly has one of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever met in my life. She is so honest, funny, generous, and is completely full of natural inner/outer beauty. She is one of my biggest supporters and fans of my music”. It was a beautiful heartfelt song played perfectly and intimately on her acoustic guitar, complete with a guitar ‘tapping’ intro.
When Lindsay left the stage at the end of her set to head for the Merch table, a long queue quickly formed to meet her after the show. The atmosphere was electric with the audience thrilled and very happy after witnessing an excellent performance. With a new album produced by Kristian Bush of Sugarland in the pipeline. The future is looking very bright for Lindsay and her music.
Lindsay, please come back to London soon :)