Sophie Ellis-Bextor was at Soho’s 100 Wardour St last night for a supremely intimate live set, as a warm up for her slot today at the epitome-of-cool music fest, Glastonbury.

What started out a very civilised affair, with a reasonably mature crowd supping on champers over a three course dinner, soon turned raucous as the charming, fun-loving singer had the audience up out of their seats dancing around their abandoned salmon fillet. The 38-year-old mother of four appeared not to have aged a day since her Murder on the Dancefloor fame (now 16 years old…gulp), bouncing around the stage in a short red tasselled jumpsuit and epic platform heels, showing off her statement pins and natural, elegant beauty.

She treated the exclusive crowd to highlights of her sixth studio album Familia, released in September last year, whose title aptly captures the singer’s deep attachment to her family – one that runs into her music and was on display on the night with her brother and husband, Jack and Richard Jones, lovingly backing up her unique vocals on drums and guitar. But that’s not to say her latest music, produced with Ed Harcourt, lacks punch, with Sophie’s voice soaring on catchy dance-pop number Wild Forever: “We should just surrender”, the more laid back Death of Love, and funky Come With Us. From her 2014 release Wanderlust we heard The Deer & the Wolf, 13 Little Dolls, Young Blood and Love Is a Camera.

She had also taken requests in the run up to gig, resulting in acoustic performances of A Pessimist is Never Disappointed, a 1998 track from her indie-rock days in band Theaudience, as well as 2001’s Get Over You and a sublime cover of good old Bangles track Manic Monday.

After a diva-like costume change it was then a return to the early 00s dancefloor classics from double platinum album Read My Lips, with Ellis-Bextor flirting with a captivated audience over Take Me Home: ”Who’s going to take me home? What for? Board games? Hot chocolate?”, getting her groove on with disco-style Groovejet, and climaxing with the contagious Murder on the Dancefloor, with covers of Modjo’s Lady (Hear Me Tonight), Moloko’s Sing it Back and 2011 track Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) thrown in for good measure.

As Sophie Ellis-Bextor boogied and twirled her way through the disco floor-filling gig, her distinctive vocals as well as her versatility as an artist were on full display, from the melancholy edged ballads to the cool as ice electro beats that first made this English rose soar to fame. Setting herself still firmly within our tradition of our cherished female singer-songwriters, this unique gig proved this girl still got it. “Do you all want to come to Glastonbury with me?” Yes please.

★★★★

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 23rd June 2017.
Photos: Mike Garnell

For further information and future events visit the Sophie Ellis-Bextor website here.

Watch the video for Wild Forever here:

 

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