The Fox Theatre sold out last night for rising U.K. singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding. A long line of women, pre-teens to moms, sprinkled with an occasional boyfriend, extended up The Hill in Boulder for the show. Aside of the scalpers trying to make a quick buck on a ticket-sleeping fan, tickets were scarce.
The Knocks, who are currently touring with Goulding, opened the show at promptly 9 p.m. with bass-friendly dance tracks that instantly had every person cramped into the front moving and jumping along to the beat. The duo's sound was friendly, as opposed some of the newer "dance" music that is increasing in popularity at clubs around here. In this case, "friendly" meant "fun." The music carried a simple two-step beat that required little attention to stay in rhythm with.
The Knocks did a great job of getting the blood flowing with clean remixes and electronic-infused vocals over their beats. Songs like "Something to Dance to" and "Dance with a DJ" filled the set, along with a remix of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek," which features a hook sampled on a plethora of dub remixes ("Mmmm Whatcha say, Mmmm That you only meant well?"). The drum pad/keyboard combo had this Booka Shade kind of energy, but certainly not the same flavor.
The all-ages show sold out in the days leading up, and it was obvious who was scooping up all the tickets upon entering. The body-heavy under 21 side was packed along the wall and down and into the pit. In contrast, the over 21 side had enough room to waltz from one side to the other without touching anyone. It was strange to see such an in-demand show look so empty, but it still sold out.
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Ellie Goulding's band came out first and opened with the music from "Under The Sheets," before Goulding came walking out donning star-printed tights and a sleeveless button-up. Her voice was a little wavering in the beginning, almost as if she couldn't find it, but towards the end of the song, she was belting with powerful emotion. Goulding sings with such fervor on every song, giving each live performance every piece of her voice. Despite some recent throat issues, she credited Boulder's clean air with helping her feel better, which garnered applause and cheer.
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"Guns and Horses" was met with cheers, along with much backup help from the crowd on the vocals. She was singing over her tracks, but not in the Jessica Simpson lip-sync kind of way, more to compliment to her voice when she'd harmonize, riding her own voice with all her energy. She continued to offer history on many of the songs, most of which relate to past relationships and the mistakes made in them. "The Writer," for instance, is about a guy Goulding wanted to be with so badly she changed herself completely, but he never fell for it.
The girls in the crowd responded with cheers and sang right along with every lyric. On "Lights," from her break-out album of the same name, everyone in the venue sang along. "Animal" closed the intimate set, and Goulding followed with a short encore performance of the hit "Starry Eyed," after which, the house lights came up.
Goulding's tracks are being sampled by every big DJ in the world because of her beautiful voice. From Bassnectar to Chiddy Bang, her sounds are being used and heard worldwide. On her current tour, which included a successful stint at SXSW, she'll be performing at Coachella in the coming weeks. Not bad for a country girl from England.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I heard Ellie Goulding last year around the release of Lights and have waited to see her for a long time. I was easily as giddy -- though, not showing of course -- as every teenage girl in the building. Random Detail: She personally handed out her set-list and drumsticks to a fan in the front row. Lucky. By The Way: One mom for every six girls. One dude for every fourteen girls.