Eliza Doolittle, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Wednesday 13 April 2011
Looking like a mermaid with her luscious brown locks over a cropped top and purple shorts with a netted tail that touches the floor, Camden- born 22-year-old Eliza Doolittle appears comfortable and quirky in the spotlight.
The intimacy of the venue suits her style but makes the stage itself look slightly crowded with a five-piece band complete with two pairs of giant legs in rollerblades pointing towards the ceiling.
Doolittle's opener is "Moneybox", and her stage presence has a flavour of Katy B and early Lily Allen in her "trainers and dresses" stage. Doolittle's outfit has a young untouched British attitude finished off with a sparkly pair of Converse that she confidently strides across the stage in.
There's something very London about this girl, the clear-cut accent on surprisingly insightful lyrics have the crowd singing along, and her unusual sound of old-school pop, jazz and soul with a hint of R&B and reggae is a vibrant mix with traces of the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder. The lyrics are also touching and funny and fit the soft melodies like a glove. And while her voice is note-perfect throughout the evening, the performance itself sometimes feels a little lost as Doolittle has little space on the stage.
The tempo of the Bruno Mars "Grenade" cover is slightly too slow but her voice saves the pace, winding around the lyrics and hitting powerful notes with ease and she then takes to the piano for "Rollerblades", a great track from her debut album that bursts at the seams with originality from start to finish. This young talent certainly has the potential to grow into one of our biggest pop names.
"Every time I look up there it's a bit scary," she says staring up at the crowd. Well, get brave, Eliza – there's more to come for a voice like that.
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