By Matthew Mahoney
Elle King, the Ohio native who currently resides in New York City, took the stage at Webster Hall at about 8:30 on Oct. 21 as a part of CMJ.
She sported a white dress covered in red lips with a black leather jacket. Her outfit fit her musical style almost perfectly, sassy and sweet but dark all at the same time. King performed without any band: just her stunning voice, an acoustic guitar, and a banjo that she switched several times throughout the show.
King’s music resides somewhere between folk, blues and rock n’ roll, although the show seemed mostly folksy and bluesy due to the lack of King’s normal backing band.
King chatted amicably with the audience between songs, which included several songs from her 2012 EP, along with other cuts and lead single “Ex’s and Oh’s” from her upcoming debut album, which will be released by RCA.
King began performing songs in New York City almost ten years ago at the age of 16. The veteran was easily able to interact with the crowd, who seemed to mostly be there to see the headliners, 80s and 90s British rock band James.
Many of King’s songs are quite tongue-in-cheek, as King played the sarcastic “Good To Be A Man” and “Good For Nothin’ Woman” back-to-back. However, some of her tracks carry a more haunting emotion: “Song of Sorrow,” “Cocaine Carolina,” and “Ain’t Gonna Drown” are proof of this.
King concluded the show with a cover that most people probably did not expect; rapper Khia’s raunchy “My Neck, My Back.” This was met with enthusiasm from the audience once they realized what was going on.
Throughout the show King’s tremendously soulful vocals shone through the crowded venue.
King has two more CMJ shows: Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday and The Living Room on Saturday. Keep an eye out for her debut album, which is sure to be packed with raucous sing-a-longs and darker ballads.
Matthew Mahoney is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org