Eliza Doolittle at Islington Assembly Hall
Tonight saw a return to the stage for Eliza Doolittle, the first night of a tour to showcase music from her second album, the follow-up to her debut Eliza Doolittle (2010). Doolittle revealed during the set that the new release would be called In Your Hands.
Doolittle walked on stage to rapturous applause and a member of the audience shouting: “It’s been too long!” After a slow start on Waste of Time the full live band launched into some new material. On the intro to Rollerblades, Doolittle proved the range and depth of her vocal ability, and Skinny Genes was an epic rendition with a big sound that drew a huge applause. New song No Man Can was searching and soulful, Doolittle taking influence from some of pop’s best vocal acts in her delivery such as Eternal, Sugababes (original line-up) and even Whitney Houston. Next, Doolittle performed a piano acoustic version of You and Me, her recent collaboration with Disclosure. It was beautifully stripped back, allowing her vocals to take centre stage.
Not everything tonight was about showing off the new material; a mini-medley of Doolittle’s favourite hits from when she and her backing vocalist were little kept the crowd smiling. They started with Mariah Carey’s You’ll Always Be My Baby, moving on to a gentle, harmonious version of Blink 182’s All the Small Things and ending with the Spice Girls’ Say You’ll Be There. It was a nice touch before later singing her new single Big When I Was Little.
There was a marked change in musical direction from Eliza Doolittle tonight, a shift from sugary pop princess to dub step-infused, alternative, lo-fi and electro-pop artist – more comparable to Robyn or the slew of Nordic acts dominating the pop scene. She was comfortable and likeable on stage, charming the audience between songs, with both old and new material.
For further information and future events visit Eliza Doolittle’s website here.
Watch the video for Big When I Was Little here: