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Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the Sage, Gateshead 18.2.2017

Every time I go to a gig it the Sage, it’s the same. It starts off a bit awkward, where everyone’s sitting down and the artist is trying to get people dancing, and it doesn’t really work. Then towards the end people just seem to say screw it and start dancing in the aisles. Sophie Ellis-Bextor must have known this, and did well to bring the disco at the end, when people were warmed up a bit. 

Sophie’s latest album, Familia
She was her usual lovely self, wearing a playsuit and seemed pretty chuffed about the fact she’d been turned into street art behind the venue. ‘Sagey Baby’ (her term of endearment for the audience and the venue) was treated to a medley of tracks from her latest album Familia, and 2014’s Wanderlust. I was particularly struck by her lyrics which has a strong spiritual theme – “You just have to surrender” (Wild Flower), “Every sunrise leads to a sunset (Death of Love). 

Other stand out tracks from Familia (which was inspired by a trip to Mexico) included ‘Crystallise,” ‘My Puppet Heart’ and the dance-tastic ‘Come With Us.’ The crowd lapped up her acoustic versions of hits ‘Get Over You and ‘Mixed Up World’ (scarily apt right now) before she did a quick change into a canary yellow chiffon dress and belted out ‘Take Me Home’, then a mash-up of Sing It Back by Moloko and her big hit with Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love). 

Everyone was up dancing by the time she finally did ‘Murder on the Dancefloor,’ before she surprised everyone by appearing on the balcony for a stripped back version of ‘Here Comes The Rapture.’ The new album showcases her versatility and prowess at writing both big dance tracks and heart-wrenching ballads. Afterwards she kindly spent a lot of time signing merchandise for the audience, who left happily seduced. 

(The review was originally written for Narc Magazine).

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