I went to The Troubadour in London to see East of Eli perform for the third time. The basement under the bar was illuminated with purple, blue and pink lights that set an enchanting glow to the room. East of Eli is chiefly comprised of one man, Nathan West, who is currently undertaking a solo Vagabond tour across Europe. His music in an eclectic amalgamation of the best of pop, rock, folk and electronic genres, and this impressive range of sound makes for an exciting and unpredictable live experience.
Whether you are familiar with his music or not, you will feel personally invested in the songs and soul of East of Eli, with a genius combination of honest lyrics, genuine eye contact and compelling music captivating every member of the audience. He layers authenticity with imagination in a way that only true artists can achieve. This realism is furthered by the restarts, cursing and improvisation sprinkled throughout the gig, the unfiltered nature of the artist demonstrated was perhaps one of my favourite things about his live performance.
Before the show I, along with the other VIP attendees, got to chat with Nathan one-on-one, take some pictures and was treated to a pre-show where he showcased some of the songs he would perform later that night. His soulful reimagining of the classic Beatles’ hit Let It Be particularly stood out, with his minor lyric adaptations, such as “speaking” becoming “whispering” and “me” becoming “thee”, conjuring a more intimate atmosphere while unifying Nathan and the audience.
“His set list changes every performance, but he always integrates covers with his own songs”
His set list changes every performance, but he always integrates covers with his own songs, so whether you’ve encountered his music before attending or not, there’s something anyone can sing along to. His haunting hit Nowhere, a song about connecting with your absent love, is guaranteed to make you feel like your own true love is floating around the room, just out of reach. An eerie and enthralling cover of Radiohead’s Creep showcased Nathan’s melancholic vocals, they echoed softly around the room and continued to echo around my mind in the days following the gig. His newest song, Trenches, which I could best describe as a dark pop/rock track, is the one that has lingered with me the longest since the show. Despite it not being released on music platforms yet, the catchy melody of the chorus still replays in my head and I find myself performing enthusiastic shower renditions pretty regularly. It’s a fun but dark song confessing to self-destructive patterns that you keep falling back into, a topic I’m sure most people can relate to.
A tenet of East of Eli’s work is music with a message, his song No Giving Up is perfectly emblematic of this, designed to raise awareness about paediatric cancer while simultaneously offering a message of hope. The music video online is peppered with celebrity appearances such as Chris Evans and Howie (from The Backstreet Boys) who want to help further this goal. This is just one example of East of Eli’s activism; Create Change is a charity he founded that brings light to social issues and important causes, while also emphasizing the importance of creativity and hope. The charity is very interactive with fans, and welcomes written or artistic submissions that spread light and positivity.
“He truly wants to engage with as many of his fans as possible”
There is no arguing that Nathan goes above and beyond to connect with his audience; throughout the gig he interacts with individual people: serenading them, handing over the microphone and even pulling them up on stage. He truly wants to engage with as many of his fans as possible, having in-depth conversations and meaningful interactions both before and after his gigs. His efforts alongside his inclusive performances bring a familial air to these shows, fostering a sense of intimacy and friendship.
After the show, Nathan was kind enough to grant me an impromptu interview, the contents of which will hopefully tell you anything else you might want to know about Nathan or his music before buying your tickets.
Please see Part 2 of this article for the exclusive interview with Nathan.
To find out more or purchase tickets to see East of Eli: https://eastofeli.com/
To find out more about Create Change: https://createchange.me/
Article Image courtesy of Pandora Ogg.