Gig Review: Ellie Bleach at The Bodega

Words: Maddie Dinnage
Photos: Eleni Maria Papachristodoulou
Monday 08 April 2024
reading time: min, words

Masterful storyteller Ellie Bleach transformed The Bodega into a cinematic still with her baroque-pop tracks…

02 Ellie Bleach Landscape Credit Eleni Maria Papachristodoulou

Hailing from London, singer Ellie Bleach and her self-proclaimed “magnificent travelling band” hit the road for their first UK tour. With her femme-fatale facade and sharper-than-knives wit, Ellie belongs in a jazz-age speakeasy, surrounded by curling tobacco smoke and men who fantasise about being as intelligent as her - but I suppose The Bodega will do. 

Local singer-songwriter Josie Beth opened the stage with her angsty acoustic tracks. With her trusty guitar and enchanting vocals, Josie is utterly disarming, charming the crowd with her aching vulnerability. Humming with influences of acoustic artists like Joni Mitchell, Birdy, and Julien Baker, the singer translates complex emotions into delicate chord progressions, treating the audience to a selection of much-loved and unreleased songs. Her opening set was a much-needed dose of realness.

03 Ellie Bleach Landscape Credit Eleni Maria Papachristodoulou

With a wine glass in hand, Ellie takes her centre-stage seat in front of the keyboard; a figure of mystery and intrigue. As her set commences, Ellie does not so much perform as she implicates her audience in a dizzying world of suburbia, pulling back the curtain to reveal the apocalyptic madness that lies just beneath the surface. With her rich, viscous vocals, and command of interweaving narratives, it is easy to compare Ellie to the likes of Ethel Cain, Kate Bush, or Lana Del Rey, but the singer inhabits her musical story worlds with an undying passion which has never been seen before. 

There is no doubt that Ellie is the star, but her accompanying band (or more aptly titled orchestra) are a real credit to her. Through layers of swooning synthesizers, trickling percussion rhythms, and some surprisingly killer electric guitar melodies, the band breathes life into a revolving cast of complicated characters and allegories, particularly in Tupperware Party, a stinging account of unseized opportunities. 

05 Ellie Bleach Landscape Credit Eleni Maria Papachristodoulou

Throughout her set, Ellie inhabits the minds of those on the point of breaking; the woman scorned, the repressed suburban housewife, the lonely socialite: too wealthy for his own good. With tracks such as I Thought I Saw You Last Night, Lakehouse, Whole Lotta Nothing, as well as fan favourites Doing Really Well Thanks and Pamela, the singer produces a witty commentary upon polished facades, paying homage to the microcosms of Old Hollywood and jazz-age London. 

Just three months into the year, Ellie Bleach has set the standard for every gig I have yet to attend. I leave the venue plagued by the question “How have I never heard of her before?”...


Ellie Bleach performed at The Bodega on 29th March 2024.

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