While the most dedicated inauguration-goers headed to the Mall on Jan. 21, other crowds gathered a little farther north in Silver Spring, Md., where the Fillmore was buzzing with excitement on the night of Jan. 20 for British pop darling Ellie Goulding.
With the venue filling up quickly, St. Lucia opened with their brand of synthesizer-infused electronic rock and set the tone for the evening.
St. Lucia were exceptionally professional and polished for a supporting act. Even a couple instances of microphone issues for backup singer and synth player Patricia Beranek did not distract or disrupt the flow of the songs.
The audience was attentive and gave off a high energy from the beginning of St. Lucia’s set to the end of headliner Ellie Goulding’s.
Goulding blasted through her set, starting with the haunting “Don’t Say A Word” and continued with high-energy songs like her current single “Figure 8.”
The audience’s presence was felt especially on the joyous “Halcyon”, the title track from her second album, during which the audience took over the chorus and nearly drowned out the music.
Midway through the show, Goulding performed several songs acoustically, including her cover of Elton John’s “Your Song.” This stripped down section proved that she does not need high production values or a full band to captivate an audience.
The highlight of the evening was the euphoric “Anything Could Happen,” the first official single from her recent sophomore effort.
Goulding seemed quite comfortable on the stage in Maryland, even going as far to describe the venue as her “perfect show”: not too big, not too small.
While she typically does not banter much between songs, Goulding appeared to feel very much at home and shared several personal tidbits throughout the performance. She talked about the various colors she has dyed her hair over the years and her jealousy of her brother performing in a heavy metal group. But things took a sentimental turn when she prefaced the powerful ballad “I Know You Care” by telling the audience it was a song she wrote for her father and wondered if he had ever heard it.
The only legitimate criticism of the show is that Goulding feels the need to pump in loops of background vocals during intros/outros/choruses of the songs. It’s understandable that Goulding wants to fill out the sound in her songs, but the loops are more often than not unnecessary. At times Goulding’s live vocals can get lost in the mix of recorded loops.