Concert Review: Ella Vos @ U Street Music Hall (3/5/18)

Ella Vos
Ella Vos (Photo from FB @EllaVosMusic)

Ella Vos charms DC again!

On March 5th, Ella Vos gave the U Street Music Hall crowd just the right mix of energy and excellent electronic pop tunes.

As she came on stage, we were greeted with pulsing purple lights bouncing off the excited crowd and radiating from a crystalline sculpture of crystal-shaped skyscrapers, as if bursting from the pedestal. The lights danced while she opened with “Words I Never Said, Pt. 1” before jumping into the hauntingly beautiful “Rearrange”.

Back in June of 2017, we had the pleasure of seeing Ella for the first time at the Songbyrd Music House in the time when her two singles were blowing up on Spotify.

She’s now, according to her, ‘on her first tour’, to support her debut album, Words I Never Said. Freya Ridings is joining her on the tour as the opener.

Ella sang her heart out on 14 songs over the course of the too short (by our measure), yet not an unreasonably timed set (a brisk one hour) with just one album to draw from.

Next she played “Little Brother”, which could be my favorite from her. Many of Ella’s songs have a resonating drum beat that almost has a life of its own, when contrasted with her softly urgent voice and the other musical arrangements. The beat is prominent in “Little Brother”, and in songs like “I Know You Care”, “Down In Flames”, and “You Don’t Know About Me” the drum is a presence you can’t shake (but you could shake to it if you desired). Set stage left, a half step from her microphone stand, a big drum was put to the test over and over, adding life to each song. Ella, and her one supporting band member, didn’t need to go far to keep the pounding beat alive.

When I arrived at Uhall, I chanced by the artist’s door and in that brief moment when the door opened, I saw Ella sitting and chatting, smiling radiantly, hoop earrings bouncing, getting ready for the show.

Her enthusiasm didn’t diminish on stage, and she pleasantly engaged the crowd with observations like, ‘DC, you look different from when I last saw you, you look beautiful tonight’ and playful bits like, ‘I’m wearing a ponytail for the first time in 10 years, is it okay?’ or wanting to get a big photo with the backdrop of everyone enjoying themselves.

Certain songs she wrote during a ‘time of darkness and confusion, turning into light’, like the atmospheric and upbeat sounding, “Mother (Don’t Cry)”, which still manages to plaintively look internally at the anxiety and shock of becoming a mother. She also performed two covers, like “Toxic” by Britney Spears, which turns out she and Freya posted a rendition of on YouTube. Her ‘favorite song to sing’ is Bon Iver’s “00000 Million”, and the crowd rustled in recognition and approval.

Later, the song “Suddenly” began with a poignantly recorded voice over, and again brought the pulsing lights and the crystals to full effect while lamenting that ‘suddenly, you’re what I need, everywhere you go, I’ll follow.’ And we may all have left Uhall with the same opinion.

Ella ended with her break-out song “White Noise” and described it as the reason she started writing music.

Sadly she didn’t return for an encore, so I had to assuage the disappointment with an $8 copy of her new album from the merch table. Okay, okay, I planned to acquire the album either way…

Get yourself a copy of Words I Never Said and be on the look out for her next show in DC!

Setlist
Words I Never Said, Pt. 1
Rearrange
Little Brother
I Know You Care
Mother (Don’t Cry)
Rose Parade (new song not sure)
00000 Million (Bon Iver cover)
(Unknown new song)
Toxic (Britney Spears cover)
You Don’t Know About Me
Down In Flames
Suddenly
Words I Never Said, Pt. 2
White Noise

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Concert Review: Ella Vos @ U Street Music Hall (3/5/18)”

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