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Lindsay Ell, Clara Bond, Holloway Road The Borderline

Day 3 of Country Music Week, and the Borderline at Soho was the venue for one of three events taking place in London tonight, so it was nice to see quite a crowd in early for the opening act, Holloway Road. Jack and Rob opened with “I Won’t Fall” from their first CD, “Little Harder” from their second CD (Roots), then covered their single releases from this year, including “If She Falls”, “Caught” and their latest single “Under Cover” among others.

The boys never disappoint, and sound as good as a duo as they do with a full band. With their usual high energy performance, and “Essex Banter” throughout, they created a great atmosphere and an excellent start to the evening.

Next up was newly blond Clara Bond, supported by Ollie Harris on guitar. Clara said her new blond look had even fooled some people who mistook her for Lindsay Ell! Covering all of her “Out of Towners” EP material, and a couple of new songs, including “Does Your Girlfriend Know You’re Single” and a co-write with Ollie entitled “I Don’t Mind”, Clara’s performance is way beyond her young age, with a smooth and faultless performance. A performance that was not lost on the crowd, who remained attentive (and quiet) throughout. She ended with the catchy title track “Out of Towners” which a few people were still humming away to during the break.

With her second show in London in three days,

Lindsay Ell’s set list was drawn mainly from her latest album “The Project”. Lindsay is very much an artist you have to watch, as well as listen to. With just her guitars, a loop pedal, and a computer loop pedal, (which she said she used live on stage for the first time tonight), Lindsay created an almost full band sound on one or two songs. On occasions she even left the riffs looping between songs, which added to the atmospheric story telling. From the opening songs “Wildfire”, “Mint”, “Waiting On You” and “Champagne” the crowd were in awe of a superbly talented guitarist.

She told how “The Project” producer, Kristian Bush, had asked her to choose her favourite record of all time, and she chose “Continuum” by John Mayer. He asked her to go into the studio and record it. “You have two weeks, and you have to play all the instruments yourself” were Kristian’s two rules. She recalled how much she learnt from the experience, and then wowed the crowd with “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” – with the slight tease, that she may release her version of Continuum next year.

She had the crowd singing along with Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”, and after “Good”, launched into a guitar riff medley, including “Stairway to Heaven”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Walk This Way” among others, culminating in a super rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. She explained this normally turns in to a guitar battle when she performs it with a full band. “Space” and “Criminal” closed the show, but she returned to the stage to perform the highly popular “By The Way” for an appreciative crowd. The comparisons to Sheryl Crow are fully justified, and having just finished touring the States with guitar greats like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley, Lindsay will certainly make her mark on the country music scene for some time.

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