In a magnetic performance, the soulful singer proved she is indeed the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider.
Music, Published on Thu Jun 04 2015
At the Drake Underground, June 3.
The great aspect of seeing an act in concert is that albums sometimes only reveal so much.
If you picked up Elle King’s Love Stuff, for instance — even if it’s only because you were impressed by her radio airplay earworm “Ex’s and Oh’s” for its bouncy yesteryear rhythm, King’s soulful rasp and the song’s catchy refrain — you’d be getting less than half the picture.
As she proved at her Toronto debut at the Drake Underground on Wednesday night, King is so, so much more than what you hear on record: she’s a ribald spitfire whose performances are brimming with so much personality that you wish she could bottle it and dispense amongst the crowd.
Part of the attraction is that King has a flair for comedy, a natural part of her DNA due to the fact that her father is ex-Saturday Night Live comedian Rob Schneider. Some of the physical mannerisms she displayed in common with her dad — a head bob here, a smirk there — proved that she is indeed her father’s daughter.
But that’s where the comparisons end: King has a much filthier mouth and more of an unrepentant, devil-may-care attitude than her father, and both are as charming as they are charismatic.
Taking to the Underground stage with her incredibly disciplined four-piece band, King introduced her opening song as being about “an idiot” who dumped her, and immediately endeared herself to the packed house of about 400 as she tore into “I Told You I Was Mean.”
She described her next song as a result of “an idiot who told me he was in love with me the first night we met” and performed the hilarious “Good To Be A Man,” from her 2012 eponymous EP, singing her heart out with an electricity that hasn’t been captured by her in the studio.
Then she switched her guitar for banjo, and started to get into some of the more incisive numbers that speak of the pains and woes of romance and the vulnerabilities therein, softer songs like “Song of Sorrow” and “Make You Smile.”
But when the pace picked up, she went for the throat with each song she sang, her voice filling the hall with a might force that again has yet to be captured by a studio. “Where the Devil Don’t Go” and “Under the Influence” were burning, passionate numbers that shook the Drake’s foundation, and the first of two cover songs, “Oh Darling,” found her wandering into the audience, hamming it up and adding a torchy aspect to the song that transformed it into her very own.
The second cover was song was saved for the encore: a raunchy Khia number about oral sex called “My Back My Neck” that had the women in the audience howling with glee.
Make no mistake: Elle King is not a choirgirl, nor does she pretend to be, and that’s what makes her so mesmerizing — she could care less what people think of her.
Elle King returns to Toronto for Edgefest on a shared bill supporting Milky Chance, but trust me, you’ll want to get there early enough to catch her set.
She’s going to be the life of the party.