Elle Exxe at Birthdays
“My mum is here,” cooed Elle Exxe last night, “she made a cake so please can everyone have some?” Sure, stranger things have happened at a gig, but none quite as heart-warming as this. In the corner, hovering over a slab of chocolatey goodness, was indeed Elle Exxe’s somewhat shy mother. It’s certainly an interesting dynamic and it exists because Elle herself wants everyone to party. “I’ll put on free drinks next time, once I’ve got a bit more money” she promised, but enough on cake and mothers, and more on Elle herself. Originally from Edinburgh, but now based in London, Elle has been playing music and singing since she was 15, and dressed in her “Birthdays suit”, she decided she was in the mood to kick some ass last night.
And thoroughly kicked it was. Despite adorning an outfit that screamed Gaga, Elle herself is anything but. We began with a rock-filled power ballad that instantly had the singer thrashing around the stage like an epileptic salmon. Here, seemingly out of nowhere, Britain has produced an artist that out Gwen Stefani’s Gwen Stefani, and that is a compliment to both girls. Lie to Me was a beautifully rich and engaging composition and as the set progressed, it became quickly apparent that Elle isn’t just your run-of-the-mill pop star. She’s far more than just auto-tune and a decent producer. Her penchant for heavy riffs, distorted bass, and synthetic melodies showed that what this performer is indeed about, and what music itself should indeed be about, is having fun. There’s an almost Rage Against the Machine style edge to her sound: there’s buckets of aggression and enthusiasm, and the first half hour was over in a flash.
There’s more to her repertoire than just aggression and attitude though, as she ably demonstrated a more soulful number to express her staggering vocal range. A brief respite, as the unbelievably energetic Who the F**k quickly reminded us: it’s everything that excellent pop rock music should be, as she paced around the stage like a hungry lioness, snarling at any photographer who dared get to close.
Elle Exxe has everything. There can be no doubt that unbridled, raw talent exists here, and hopefully if the labels do ever get wind of her, they will happily leave her alone in her artistic process. Despite having to tap dance through the acoustic minefield that was the Birthdays sound system, she delivered a set draped in funk, jazz, rock and style, and backed supremely by her mime-faced band, one can only hope that it won’t be too long until we see or hear from her again.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information about Elle Exxe and for future events visit here.
Watch the video for Lie to Me here: