Having already seen British songstress Ellie Goulding at Coachella in 2011, I had a good idea of what to expect last Tuesday as I walked away from the temptation of street venders shilling bacon-wrapped hot dogs and into the Hollywood Palladium. With her flaxen tresses, waifish figure, and resonating vocals, Goulding commanded the comparatively small Gobi tent at that festival in Indio, and since that performance, she has released a new album, Halcyon, and picked up a noticeably larger following, selling out both the Wiltern and the Palladium in the same week. Seeing as how I adored Halcyon, I was eager to witness live renditions of the songs on Goulding’s newest release.
Upon entering, I was greeted by the poppy melodies of New York-based band St. Lucia. Although I had heard their name tossed around before, I was fairly unfamiliar with their sound going into the show, but I left the venue a fan. Their sound was faintly reminiscent of the feel-good tracks of M83 with markedly different vocal stylings. I anticipate big things to come for them.
Shortly afterward, the luminous Ellie Goulding took the stage. Clad in black, she began the show with Halcyon’s opening song, “Don’t Say A Word,” before launching into the album’s title track. The pace of the first half of her set was kept on the more muted side, culminating in a lovely acoustic version of Lights’ “Guns And Horses.”
The second half of the set was noticeably more lively with the driving beats of “Only You” and “Under The Sheets” picking up the pace of the show. From there, Goulding dropped her much-beloved single “Anything Could Happen,” which earned audible appreciation from the audience. It was her body roll-laden rendition of “Animal,” however, that was the clear highlight of the set for me. With its pulsing percussion and Goulding’s constant motion on stage, the song was a clear reminder that Goulding is more than a ballad-singing pretty face.
Her first set conlcuded with one of my favorite tracks from Lights, “Starry Eyed,” and a short encore comprised of two songs kicked off with Halcyon’s “I Need Your Love.” Goulding expressed her sincerest gratitude to all her fans in her oh-so-adorable British accent before closing out the night with crowd-favorite “Lights.”
In comparison to her 2011 set at Coachella, Goulding seemed more confident in her own skin on stage at The Palladium. Her vocals were unquestionably solid both this time and last, but she seemed to be enjoying herself more this time around as she alternated between sashaying fiercely on stage, beating drums, and strumming her guitar. Yet despite her on-stage swagger, Goulding possesses an unmistakable humility, most evident in the fact that she regularly took time to thank her audience for their unwavering support throughout the show.
There’s no question that Goulding’s accumulation of new fans will not be stopping any time soon. With her poignantly honest lyrics, undeniably catchy riffs, and signature songbird vocals, she’s well on her way to even bigger and better things. In her own words, “anything could happen.”
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