Ellie Goulding, the latest in a string of UK female singers finding success the past half-decade, played an all-ages, sold out show on Friday night at the Ogden Theatre. The audience skewed young and predominately female; a Cosmo crowd (the magazine AND the drink) if there ever was one. While the front was jammed with Goulding fans, it appeared a considerable number of attendees’ prime purpose was to be AT an Ellie Goulding show, rather than to actually listen to Ellie Goulding’s songs (certainly not the unfamiliar ones). That, or maybe their Facebook pages needed more pictures.
Amazingly, you rarely heard Goulding’s voice over all the din. The sound was atypically among the muddiest heard at the Ogden in quite a while, or perhaps it was just Goulding’s keyboard dominant band. Compared to compelling live performances by the musicians behind Adele, Sweden’s Lykke Li or Denmark’s Asteroid Galaxy Tour, Goulding’s band piled on more fill than actual color.
Fleshing out some of Goulding’s folkier songs to suit her more recent electro pop leanings requires additional elements, but it was rarely compelling and quite ordinary. It wasn’t a poor performance by any stretch, just an unsurprising, disappointing one; particulary, its production.
A mid-set, three-song acoustic section had some casual fans reaching for their phones, if they hadn’t already. Despite being one of the few times you could clearly make out Goulding’s voice above the murk, only Goulding’s cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” (“from the Royal Wedding, remember?”) quieted the chattier than usual crowd.
For the rest of the show, it was crowd favorites, all lined-up for maximum effect. The pacing picked up, the crowd danced; most sang along (or shouted) their favorite lyrics. It was like an all-ages bachelorette party broke out. Did Goulding fans have a fun night out? Probably. Was this a show whose performance would win over casual fans or attendees escorting their friends, dates or children? Doubtful.
Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.
Kit Chalberg is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.