Ella Eyre with support from Jake Issac
Thursday 12th March 2015 – Mandela Hall, Belfast
Having been rescheduled from October, there has been a long wait for both Ella and her fans for her first show in Ireland, and before the doors open on a brisk Thursday night, you can see the dedication from her fans as they show up in force to line up before 8pm. Making their way to the main room downstairs in the Students Union, the young audience head straight to the barrier, eagerly awaiting the show, and many of them sporting freshly acquired Ella Eyre t-shirts.
The crowd slowly starts to trickle in for the next 20 minutes and while the room is shy in numbers, Jake Isaac takes to the stage. A lone performer hailing from London with a mere acoustic guitar to entertain the crowd. Without saying a single word, nor striking a single chord, Jake starts to sing. And the crowd is mesmerised and in an instant, completely captivated by his soulful yet powerful vocal ability. With a beautiful melody, the song is soothing and calming and sets a peaceful mood for the audience as the opening track.
Kicking into the next song ‘Chaos’, Jake shows off his versatility as a writer and singer. With a more upbeat track behind him, the vocals are a lot more powerful while remaining blissful. During the track, Jake involves the crowd for the first time, and sings a melody after the chorus for the crowd to recite back. And while the numbers in the crowd weren’t overly flattering for an opening act, they sing loudly enough that it resonates through the room, deceptively appearing as though the room is full. Breaking into an extract of Bobby McFerrin’s ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ before the track has finished, has the whole crowd fully warmed up and singing it back. And with a modest personality on show, he whole heartedly thanks the crowd for not only their participation, but also for watching him play.
An unusual move sees the singer amidst the crowd for the next track, and immediately surrounded by the audience, he starts to play a soothing track, perfect for an intimate show. With his humble nature, and his crowd pleasing combination of soulful vocals and soothing guitar parts, he plays through the last two tracks of his set, both of which see him leave on a high. They’re brilliantly written upbeat tracks which see the crowd clapping and dancing along, before Jake promotes his newest EP ‘Where We Belong’ as he leaves the stage, summing up a beautifully modest performance by the London born singer/songwriter.
Next up was the headline act, and as the lights went down, the hall was barely half filled. But that doesn’t stop the Basement Jaxx track ‘Red Alert’ being blasted throughout the venue before Ella Eyre takes to the stage. As the band appear and start the opening of the first track, floods of people enter into the main room, and as Ella joins her band mates on stage, the hall is packed and nearing full attendance. Kicking things off with her most recent single, ‘Comeback’ and with great energy, Ella leaps and runs between each side of the stage pumping the crowd up. Next up is the powerful and catchy track ‘Don’t Follow Me’ and with near flawless vocals, comparative to her studio efforts, Ella gets the crowd moving and clapping during the upbeat track.
Showing that she is versatile as a vocalist and performer, the set slows down with the next few tracks, and the rock influence pop ballad ‘All About You’ shows her passion for her music, as well as the subject matter. The next few tracks see Ella perform some mellow efforts, with ‘Deeper’ and ‘Fall Down’, and she appears unbreakable and completely focused on the performance, untouched as the crowd show her love with the numerous ‘We love you Ella’ chants that flow throughout the songs. And while there is little dancing involved in these songs, her eyes are set firmly on delivering the best performance possible, and with a huge and powerful voice, the ballads hit home with most of the room.
Taking a short break to thank the opening act, Ella talks about her misfortune when it comes to Ireland shows and mentions that the show in Belfast is her first in our country. It’s hard to think at times that she’s accomplished so much already in her mere 3 years as a songwriter. The 20 year old has been across the charts in the past couple of years. And one of her biggest songwriting credits was 2013’s hit single by Rudimental ‘Waiting All Night’, which she performs after to get the crowd as rowdy as they were earlier in the set. And with much of the track spent jumping about and ushering the crowd to sing as loudly as possible, you can see the delight on her face as the room is jumping and dancing, and fully behind her tonight.
Nearing the end of the set, the energy of the band and performer together are passed to the crowd, and for the final few songs, the whole room is in unison, dancing and singing along. As she says that she’s about to play her last song, or rather that she’s required to say it’s her last, the crowd cheer the young singer and as she thanks the audience for their time tonight, the highlight of her set approaches. ‘Gravity’ is the perfect song to end on a high as the dance based hit track with DJ Fresh sees no-one in the room standing still. With the crowd jumping and wanting more, they chant ‘Ella’ as the lights go out, hoping for a few more tracks before the night is over.
Re-joining the stage one by one, the band play Ella’s first single, released in July of 2014, ‘If I Go’ with a slight twist. An extended version, with extra chorus parts near the end with the whole crowd singing it back to the 20 year old. After finishing the top 20 track, Ella thanks the crowd again and appears humbled by the turnout and reception she has received on the night. Stating that she will comeback again soon enough, she breaks into what will be her next single ‘Together’. With only its second live performance, the tracks starts slow before breaking into a powerful dance based chorus, that of which have made ‘Gravity’ and ‘Waiting All Night’ hit tracks, the young singer could be set with even more success with this single.
As the lights come up, filled with joy and profusely thanking the crowd again, overwhelmed by the ovation, she leaves the stage on what was a great night of pop based performances filled with dance efforts that had the crowd moving the whole night.