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Elle King Brings Unapologetic Sass to Springfield’s Fillmore Stage

February 21, SILVERSPRING, MD, 8 pm


It’s 2015: Obama is president, Stephen Colbert took over The Late Show, bizarre nonsensical Buzzfeed quizzes are all the rage, and Elle King has released her Platinum album, “Love Stuff.”

Fast forward eight years and Elle King continues to thrive by delivering what fans have come to expect from her, the anomalous. Her most recent stop? The country music station. “A-Freakin-Men Tour” backs her latest record, “Come Get Your Wife” and that’s what brought everyone to Springfield on a Tuesday night.

The Fillmore was densely packed, and the buzz of the room felt tangible. It smelled reminiscent of a haunted house as plums of fog filled the stage. 

The Red Clay Strays, the night’s opening act, slowly emerged. Lead vocalist/guitarist, Brandon Coleman was easy on the eyes with a style that played out like a romantic, yet gritty, marriage of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Between the dark storytelling and perfectly timed rubber legs, the infamous move of Presley himself, it was nearly impossible not to swoon. Those Alabama boys may have walked out to a clueless crowd but after impressing attendees at every turn they undoubtedly left with a slew of fans. Their set created the perfect vibe for the main event.

Red Clay Strays: vocalist Brandon Coleman left, drummer John Hall right Credit: Lori Micsky

Elle King confidently sauntered on stage; one cow print boot in front of the other. Her swagger was validated by the hootin’ and hollerin’ of an eclectic crowd: some rocking cowgirl hats; some rocking face tattoos. King has certainly acquired all types over the years.

The anticipation broke with “Chain Smoking, Hard Drinking Woman” which acted as the nights mission statement, “When I was a little girl/I loved the blues/Said when I grow up/I wanna sing them tunes/When I got older/I told ’em my plan/They said ‘You can’t sing no blues, cause you ain’t a man’/I said ‘What’s that got to do with it? I am no man/but I can sing the blues just as good as men can!” If folks arrived thinking she’d fit into a cookie-cutter female stereotype, they were sorely mistaken.  

Her set list was stacked. Starting with her powder-punch pop hit, “Ex’s & Oh’s” then taking a pit-stop to croon her gem of a quarantine release, “The Let Go” which brought listeners clear of the overpass to her current smash “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” which she released alongside kindred spirit Miranda Lambert. At this point the performance took a dive into purely country-content.

In-between songs King was clearly at ease turning to take a hit off her vape pen and a sip from a white foam cup. “Out Yonder,” a bonafide honkey-tonk track held an under belly of banjo plucking layered with electric guitar and an ear worm of a chorus. Lyrically, this track encapsulates her angst toward gossiping, garbage goons, “So take your front-page/two-faced/petty-ass drama/And leave it out, leave it out, leave it out yonder!” The blatant revelry showcased how well country suits her. And hey, if the slipper fits you might be King.

After noticing a young deaf fan in the front row, King took time to express her love and friendship and cued everyone else to do the same by signing applause in their direction. The endearing moment led to an audible, ‘aww’ from the crowd who were then met with a stellar rendition of Stevie Nicks’, “Stop Dragging My Heart Around.” Even with King and her guitarist trading off vocals she made a point to sign the chorus.

As the show came to a close King pulled her taped set list off the stage and with a smile handed it that same young fan. But it became clear the crowd wasn’t going to leave without an encore as the volume of the venue rose 10 decibels. The crowd only outdid themselves when they walked back onstage to play the relatable, snarky, foot stomper “Americas Sweetheart.”

Longtime fan and crowd member, Caitlin, 34, first saw Elle King as an opener for the Chicks back in 2016 and was happy to see her taking center stage, “This was my first concert where Elle King was the headliner…the show was great! I hate standing room only venues, but it was so nice to be so close.”

Elle King radiated that moxie that made us all feel drawn to her in one way or another. The one unanswered question? Elle, will you be my best friend?

-Tricia Cherie

Photo Credit: Lori Micsky

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