’It’s great to be here thanks for coming out, here are some sad songs’’, The Little Unsaid’s John Elliott half joked before proceeding to play another sad song. I have to say, it was a pretty impressive and original way to open a gig, but upon listening to The Little Unsaid one can tell that Elliott and his music are not far from impressive and original. Through his performance in the seated auditorium of the Phoenix in Exeter on the night of November 2nd, it became evident that Elliott has a pretty great sense of humour. He tried (and succeeded) in lightening the atmosphere with his witty remarks, mocking himself about the fact that he rambles on during shows and even making comments to people in the audience. ‘’Does anyone have any other questions?’’ he joked upon being asked something from a member of the audience and everyone laughed until he went on to play another song, the mood immediately shifting from chuckles to silence. This contrast between the sombre tones that The Little Unsaid’s ‘sad’ music imposes on the atmosphere with Elliott’s amusing remarks introduced a surprisingly light-hearted element in his performance — even though he was playing said ‘sad’ songs.
The Little Unsaid are currently this close to finishing their new album, or so we were informed by Elliott with hand gestures. He then went on to play some new material that is yet to be released, distinguishing the ‘new’ music (which would be older music the majority of the audience might perhaps not be familiar with) from the “new-new” unreleased music. Among the new-new songs performed, which still remain untitled to us, was the recently-released single Symptomatic from the upcoming album. I had particularly looked forward to hearing this song live, especially because in all its obscurity it stood out to me as an excellent song. Of course, hearing this song live was as wonderful as I had expected. All of the new and new-new music performed received an enthusiastic approval from the audience in the form of long rounds of applause and cheering as everyone was clearly moved.
The intensity of the performance of Elliot and the other three The Little Unsaid members, who he made sure to acclaim for their contributions and talents at various points in the show, is what made the show so captivating. The manner in which Elliott performed — his gestures, expressions, the way he gripped and played the instruments — was as though every single song had a personal significance to him. It probably did of course, considering that he writes all of his material, but his stage presence was so graceful and natural that it entailed the impression that Elliott was expressing personal emotions through his performance. And this definitely had an impact on the crowd; if you looked around the room you could see that his riveting performance left most faces in awe.
As for stage visuals, the spotlight shined on Elliott during his solos while the other three artists stood still and, depending on how intense a chorus was, lights flickered accordingly. Elliott did of course thank the stage and audio crew at the end for making the show in the small auditorium of the Phoenix so optically impressive. But it was his performance and the other three musicians’ help that made the show so memorable. At times they sang along, at times they simply played their instruments and at times they left the stage to Elliott, but the other three musicians were as significant to the show as Elliott himself, and he expressed this gratitude more than once throughout the night.
Finally, Elliott’s striking vocals rung through speakers as the other three members of The Little Unsaid played with the same passionate convictions and it was no surprise that their performance was received with a long round of applause and a standing ovation at the end. After returning to the stage and closing with an encore, they thanked us very sincerely for coming. But, as the lights went on and everyone began to leave it was I who felt very thankful to have witnessed The Little Unsaid perform.