It was no ordinary event on the evening of Friday 18th July. Canterbury based singer/songwriter, Ella Morgan, made it rain at the launch of her new self-titled 5 track EP, and it all happened up the stairs at the Mexican themed ex-hairdressing salon, Club Burrito on Butchery Lane in Canterbury.
Under the venue’s sultry orange glow and up against the hazy summer heat of what turned into one of the hottest evenings of the year, Ella, dressed all in black, coolly took the full house on an amped up journey of grunge, rock and blues, in which she seamlessly weaved her own solo material including tracks from the EP.
She kicked the evening off with her original “Turn your Back on the Bar” driven by an energetic riff which set the mood, it was a fitting opener as the crowd did exactly that and all turned towards the stage, where they began to be captivated by Ella’s, powerful, soulful voice and solid guitar performance.
It was a treat for me to see Ella do her thing in more of an intimate venue, as previously I had only ever seen her play while performing on Canterbury High Street, where I suppose she has to trade off the subtleties of her voice to volume, competing with hordes of students and screaming children. But on this occasion, the set up was perfect, highlighting her ability to belt out some lyrics when the time is right, and then change it up and flaunt some vocal finesse.
She further showcased her song writing talent through the first half of the set, and also gave an insight into her influences with fantastic covers of “Down in a Hole” by Alice in Chains “Got my Mojo Working” by Muddy Waters and “20th Century Boy” by T. Rex.
During a short break in the show, (where I’m sure many brows were wiped and many beers/burritos consumed) the burgeoning storm outside was finally unleashed and Ella returned to the stage, now back dropped by heavy rain and flashes of lightning over the rooftops of Canterbury. She indulged in more of a casual, humorous rapport with the audience in the second half, continuing the rock and blues vibe. The set-list seemed to be thrown to the wind, with a few changes here and there, but her songs “River of Air” and “Emily” fit right in beside the likes of “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra and “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones.
Overall, the evening was a smash hit and I‘m sure will be memorable for all who attended, Ella knows how to put on a show with her own brand of attitude and sassy stage presence. She gave a real crowd pleasing performance, which was met with applause and cheering after each song, and in honesty I could not fault. So yeah, get down to one of her upcoming gigs and pick up the Ella Morgan EP! It’s events like this that really bring home the reasons why live music matters!
Words: Benjamin Sidney