Review: Kerry Ellis and Matt Cardle, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, August 23-24

Kerry Ellis performing at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Andrew Clarke

Kerry Ellis performing at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Andrew Clarke - Credit: Archant

Two nights, two sensational singing talents perform a stunning homecoming concert at this intimate Suffolk venue. The pair have appeared on the same bill before but have never sung together so decided that as they both have Suffolk roots that a joint concert in Bury St Edmunds would be a good place to make that ambition a reality.

Kerry Ellis performing at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Andrew Clarke

Kerry Ellis performing at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Photo: Andrew Clarke - Credit: Archant

Kerry opened the show and on the second night demonstrated her vocal power with a stunning version of I, Who Have Nothing – her voice filling the auditorium without the aid of a microphone after the PA temporarily failed.

With her mic restored for the second number, Kerry’s acoustic set ably demonstrated her vocal power but also her ability to sensitively sell a song to the audience. The quieter numbers like the title song from the Sara Bareilles musical Waitress had the audience in the palm of her hand.

The evening allowed Kerry explore her back catalogue including Once I Loved A Butterfly from her first album Anthems, as well as some of her favourite tracks by other artists including Dust in the Wind by Kanas, Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love and Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love.

There were also a couple of Queen classics – Someone to Love and Crazy Little Thing Called Love – which quickly became audience sing-alongs. Kerry ended her half of the evening in explosive fashion with a stunning acoustic arrangement of Defying Gravity followed by Finding Wonderland from a musical she finished touring earlier this summer.

A standing ovation brought Matt Cardle out for a jaw-dropping duet of Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever – their voices work exceptionally well together – and Kerry’s powerful last note brought the audience to its feet and had Matt looking on with joyful admiration.

The second half of the evening saw Matt stripping back his music to its essential components, accompanied with just keyboards and bongos, the arrangements allowed him to showcase his impressive vocal range and his edgy guitar-playing.

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His set comprised of familiar tracks like Starlight off his debut album along with This Trouble Is Ours from what he described as his difficult third album. This was mixed with covers of some of his favourite songs, one of which Screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You showcased his vocal talents as well as some extremely impressive and atmospheric guitar-playing.

His easy going nature gave him plenty of opportunity to indulge in banter with his musicians and with the audience. He finished the evening with a treat for his fans, a brand new song, Desire, which served as a sneak peak at his forthcoming album.

Kerry Ellis came out to join him for the encore and they finished the evening duetting on his single Loving You. The pair, who clearly had a great time, promised to come back and repeat the experience. We need to hold them to their word.

Andrew Clarke

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