There's no doubt that the popularity of house music kind of put us all in an ADHD mood of erotic and inconsistent behavior. It was refreshing to hear r&b, live music that spills over into a cross mix of international sultry tunes classifying how much smooth r&b made an effect on places like England. The Emily King and Emeli Sande show at the Theater of Living Arts (TLA) is everything you’d ever want with an intimate size crowd in Philly. We all missed songs that you can sing along to with all your friends- communal music. And, after the concert as fans spilled onto south street, you could hear the echos of riled up fans singing catchy hooks from both songstresses. Thanks ladies! From stage to door, people were crammed in, hoping to get a good glimpse of the 2 ems.
Emily King introduced the crowd to her music-- a cross between 90s MTV jams with a modern take on TLC. Although not as familiar, this Manhattan native performed the songs on her new EP, Seven. The inviting crowd cheered her on as she sang about love and lush. Emily's stage presence is magnetic. That is, you can see her that the lyrics to her songs go far on a personal level, playing the guitar to acoustic versions of her songs.
Seven is more sultry than her previous album- East Side story, which garnered her a Grammy-nomination in 2006 for best contemporary album. This time around, Emily is back with more neo-pop inspired songs- like Ever After. At the end of her set, she lingered through the crowd to sign autographs. I asked her what was the meaning of Ever After and she responded, “whatever people say don't listen to them, especially old people, because “they tend to be negative.” Her young and fresh to the game personality is what makes her music work coming from a city of trends. Her sometimes raspy voice adds to the substance of her lyrics. Overall, it was a great compliment to the show.
Emile Sande greeted us in a cheetah print blouse, a black knee length skirt and Marc Jacobs flat shoes. That's it. An outfit that was more comfortable for her to dance around on stage and direct her audience. She opened the show with “Tiger,” and it was clear that her fans- some old and new, sang along to all of the lyrics. I like how she didn't assume that people knew the names to her songs or what they mean. Emeli Sande intro-ed all the songs. Like a choir, the full house assisted her in singing “Mountains” and “Some kind of love”- which was inspired and written for her newly husband, Adam Gouraguine.
Her band was her rock. More like a jam session at an outdoor festival, the drummer gave it to Philly--- can I say it was hot!! The audience was filled with hipsters to normal office workers in their 50s. It's clear that her fan base is diverse- but that's no surprise when you are singing genuinely about some guy leaving you with a packed suitcase. We've all been there. The Brit has talent. Emeli performed two songs paired with a piano. “Breaking the Law” acapella electrified the crowd, whispering “whatever it takes to get what you need...” in repetition, took everyone to that place of when love struggles. She made us feel apart of the performance, bits of island inspired rhythms added a playful twist as she twirled laughing and singing- on beat. It was fun to see it come so natural.
Actually the whole show, with Emily King, was amazing. When Emeli sang the last song “Daddy,” everyone deep down was hoping she'd come out for an encore, and maybe wishing big, Emily King accompany her.
The Ems are next.