Ekkah at Notting Hill Arts Club
For those venturing down to Notting Hill Arts Club’s subterranean halls on an unseasonably hot bank holiday Friday, Ekkah offer the perfect respite. The pop duo comprises Rebecca Wilson on lead vocals and guitar, and Rebekah Pennington on synths, percussion, sax and backing vocals. Summer party vibes abound throughout their pacey, 45-minute headline set, while a delivery focussed on precise musicianship and a chic, sophisticated aesthetic lends the evening the breezy, blissed-out glamour of a disco on a St Tropez yacht.
Opening with recent single Homesick, the duo lay cautiously optimistic lyrics over skittering percussive rhythms that build to an expansive chorus, conjuring a balmy road trip with the windows down. The feel-good mood established, the intro to Last Chance to Dance elicits a cheer from the crowd. The track is warm and ethereal, characterised by spacey wonder.
Pennington and Wilson are best friends who have been making music together since the age of 15, going on to play festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival and Secret Garden Party. Their sense of fun in performing – all smiles and shape-throwing – is infectious. In the neighbouring bar room, the Homesick video is beamed onto one wall: a stylish, abstract compilation that splices a glamorous video shoot with sunny scenery. Onstage, towering silver mosaic lettering spells out EKKAH; this disco duo presents unabashed, sparkling champagne visuals that match their sound.
“I need you all to do this,” Wilson announces, demonstrating how the crowd should move their hips, as the pair lead into What’s Up. Here Wilson’s voice, sweet in tone and confident in execution, is showcased. A call-and-response rap break throws a hint of Wham Rap! into the sonic R&B mix; as Pennington picks up her sax for the first time this evening, she answers its staccato rhythm with mellifluous melody.
Next is the upbeat Just a Thing, followed by We Used to Break Each Other’s Hearts, by which time the throng is clapping along. Backstage Driver is a highlight: the brand new single (released 17th April 2019) features an urgent running beat and an earworm refrain. Figure it Out adds another memorable hook to the list, and its echoey “ooh”s are answered with football terrace-style chants of “Ekkah, Ekkah!” from the audience.
The set closes with Cheating on You and Room for Love, which builds to an explosive confetti cannon climax. Perhaps even topping the original for sparse glittery lustre, a cover of Evelyn King’s Love Come Down rounds out the night in pure celebration.
If there’s a better way to kick off a long weekend than with Ekkah’s uplifting disco stylings, we have yet to find it. Super slick and sure of itself, it’s a sound that leaves bright melodies trailing in its wake, long after the final pieces of confetti have been stomped into the dancefloor.
Laura Foulger and Stuart Boyland
Photos: Amber O’ Rourke
Ekkah’s new single Backseat Driver was released in the UK on 17th April 2019.
Watch the video for Homesick here: