You may have heard of Eliza Doolittle, the young singer behind hits such as: ‘Pack Up’ and ‘Skinny Genes’. 9 years after her debut album, Doolittle has not only changed her name to simply ELIZA, but she has changed her sound completely as well. Whereas before her songs would be perfectly fitted for the radio, her new tunes from her album A Real Romantic are seemingly more Jazz- and RnB-inspired, with funky bass lines and heavy drum beats. I had therefore been looking forward to ELIZA’s gig at Patterns on the 12thof March 2019, to see how she would perform her new tunes.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the basement of Patterns was a table with merchandise. Not only could you buy the usual branded T-shirt or ELIZA’s album on vinyl, it was also possible to purchase a pair of silky red knickers. This truly set the tone for a night filled with sensual music that would make you feel like the sexiest person in the room just by listening to it.
As ELIZA entered the stage 15 minutes later than scheduled, she was backed up by a drummer, a bassist, and two backing singers. As the song ‘Game’ started playing it almost seemed as if the bass was the main event instead of ELIZA. It was pumping through the speakers, and although the bass indeed is vital for ELIZA’s music, it completely drowned her voice. ELIZA appeared to be confident on stage, but the lack of sound coming from her unfortunately did not make this a great start for her gig.
The sound issues continued as she continued with the songs ‘All Night’ and one of her more well-known songs ‘Livid’. The latter resulted in the audience singing and dancing along, which only made ELIZA’s voice disappear even more. Although her voice was difficult to hear, she somehow managed to seem convincing to the crowd. Between songs she would chat flirtatiously with the audience, telling them how she loved them all. Not everyone could hear what she was saying though, and I overheard quite a few of people complaining about the sound throughout the evening.
As the night drew closer to the end, a shift in the sound suddenly happened. As ELIZA started singing ‘Wide Eyed Fool’ her voice suddenly became clearer – and thank God for that. ELIZA’s voice is in fact very pleasant to listen to, which is why it was such a shame that it was hidden away for most of the concert. Her tone of voice is extremely warm and effortlessly relaxed – it was powerfully pitch-perfect to listen to during the evening. As the penultimate song ‘Alone & Unafraid’ played, the crowd was dancing along and seemed happy to finally be able to hear ELIZA’s voice.
The last song of the night was ‘Wasn’t Looking’. The crowd once again singing and dancing along, and the song was in many ways the perfect way to end the concert. Just before finishing the song, ELIZA presented the people who had backed her up all night, and we were treated to amazing improvisation solos by each member of the band. Each one showed off how incredible the musicians ELIZA had brought with her were, and they all received immense applause from the audience.
Although ELIZA’s gig a Patterns clearly suffered from sound issues throughout the night, there is no doubt that she is a highly skilled musician. Her new sound suits her and she is clearly very talented, I simply just wish that she would have had the opportunity to show it off properly.