LIVE REVIEW: FOXES + Leon Else at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester – 8th March 2014

Last night saw Foxes headline Manchester’s Ruby Lounge to a sold out crowd and for a night were virtually every venue across the city was packed out to sold out crowds, it just emphasises how far Foxes has come in the space of 5 months.

Last time she was in Manchester, she played The Roadhouse, which is a great little venue but it’s a LOT smaller than The Ruby Lounge, she played to a good sized audience but it wasn’t sold out like last night’s gig was. With a little help from her collaborations with Rudimental, Fall Out Boy and Zedd, along with her own material, her latest single Let Go For Tonight reached the number 7 spot on the UK’s official chart last weekend, her first top 10 single. It has meant that she is rapidly gaining attention and deservedly so.

Earlier this week she even got the honour of being asked to perform in Radio 1’s Live Lounge, were she sang a magnificent rendition of Pharrell’s Happy. The gig itself was everything you could have wished for, a party atmosphere with mellow moments and joyous moments, only strengthened by her light hearted persona. Joking about her failed attempts at taking selfies with the crowd, she said she’s rubbish with technology. Just for the fact that she interacts with the crowd on a personal level made the night even more special. 

Leon Else

First up was slick pop, r’n’b crooner Leon Else, whom we’ve featured before on Bitter Sweet Symphonies, where his début single, Protocol, received ‘Song of the Week’ status, a song that has picked up attention and plays from the likes of BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 1. So, I was really surprised when he opened his set with this song, though I have to say, it sounded even better live. Leon is a very confident and charismatic performer, he really does loose himself in the music, and as an audience you can’t help but be swept away by his luscious tones, it’s quite awe inspiring really to watch this man perform. His band have to be congratulated also, a tight outfit, slick and very much on point. 

You can’t help but make comparisons with Leon Else to other artists that are storming the charts these days like Robin Thicke, Sam Smith and John NewmanElse also has that soulful voice, a silky sweet falsetto and a vocal range that could stop traffic, there is a smouldering intensity to his voice, that can easily make you loose where you are for a minute and as you try to put yourself back together, he belts out another lyric that just melts you in your spot once again. 

With his set you could be easily fooled into thinking you are watching an artist that is performing on an arena stage, he definitely owned it and he is completely in his element up there. I think it’s safe to say, he won over a few new fans last night and to say it was his first tour, you would never have known. He was completely at ease and the crowd were every bit as invested in him, which is quite an unusual reaction from a crowd for a support act as I’m sure you all realise, not many people usually pay much attention to the first act, but like I said Leon had them in awe.

It was his last date of the tour with Foxes, so it was a little bitter sweet for him but it’s been a monumental moment in his career with it being his first UK tour he’s ever been on. He’s been riding high this weekend, after headlining his own gig the day before at London’s prestigious KOKO, things are looking very good for this young singer/songwriter, like he says himself “The future’s bright, the future’s Leon” and I’d have to agree. He is destined for bigger stages and bigger opportunities are sure to come his way in the coming year, watch out for this one.

FoxesFoxes finally took to the stage at 9:50pm, a whole 20 minutes later than scheduled, but she got straight down to business and kicked the night off with a new song, Talking to Ghosts, taken from her forthcoming début album, Glorious. Her set was full of vibrant, power pop hits and belty choruses to sing along to and chant. The stand out moments for me came in the form of the slower ballady, piano numbers like Glorious and Beauty Queen. It makes you appreciate her vocal talent a whole lot more, as an audience you become captivated by her, the pureness of her vocal without any embellishments just means that its magical to watch, she is the real deal. Basically there are many elements to a Foxes show, particularly with this tour, the production really revels in its glory, she literally has her name in lights, the way the stage looks fits perfectly with her personality, it’s fun, vibrant and energetic, much like the show itself.

Set List: 1- Talking To Ghosts, 2- White Coats, 3- Night Owls Early Birds, 4- Youth, 5- Echo, 6- Glorious, 7- Hold On We’re Going Home / Monster (Drake and Rihanna/Eminem cover), 8- Holding On To Heaven, 9- Clarity, 10- Beauty Queen, 11- Let Go For Tonight. ENCORE: 12- Right Here

She glides across the stage, often darting across the stage like a gazelle in songs, particularly in Talking to Ghosts and Let Go For Tonight, her excitement is infectious, she’s like a ball of energy when she hits that stage and as an audience you can’t help but reflect that back at her. Finally came the moment I’d been waiting for ever since I first heard the song last year, Clarity. This song is really special not just because of the success it’s had internationally and I can’t forget to mention the fact that it has earned Foxes and Zedd one of the music industries most prestigious and coverted accolades, a Grammy award, but it definitely was the star of the night. The stripped back version of this song really was something else, again it really shows off Louisa’s flawless vocals, but it makes you appreciate the song in a whole new way. Just standing there in awe of this song makes you realise how lucky we all were to get a chance to see Foxes intimately, before she heads out for a summer full of huge festival shows.

You can catch Foxes on tour all throughout May, the remaining tickets are available here and Foxes début album, Glorious, will be released 12th May 2014. For more info on Foxes and Leon Else, check out the following links below.

LEON ELSE: Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

FOXES: Website . Facebook . Twitter

Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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