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Kerry Ellis & Matt Cardle

Seemingly an unlikely pair, but surprising the perfect pair; Matt Cardle and Kerry Ellis come together for an exclusive homecoming gig at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. And one thing they definitely do, is give a great night of entertainment through the medium of music.

To those that don’t know, Matt Cardle first came to light in 2010 when he was crowned the winner of X-Factor. After a stint of chart success and solo albums, he moved into musicals as he starred in West End hit ‘Memphis’ in 2015, but has since returned to his roots of making albums and touring/gigging.

Whereas Kerry Ellis has been somewhat of a household name to theatre fans as she’s been starring in the West End since 1998. She’s been in a whole host of shows, tours and concert productions, with her most notable credits being the original Meat in We Will Rock You and going green as Elphaba in Wicked, a role of which also took her to Broadway. She has also released a number of solo albums – including two with Brian May!

Therefore, these are two equally talented people with strong careers behind them. So, why come together for an exclusive gig in Bury you might wonder? Well, both of them are “local people” as they prided themselves on, as Matt is from Essex and Kerry is originally from Stowmarket, plus both have played to full crowds in the venue before.

Kerry took the first half of the show, bouncing onto the stage in a bedazzling sequinned jumpsuit, introducing us to her band that she ‘stole’ from Wonderland (if you know, you know) and kicking things off with her take on I Who Have Nothing. 

As mentioned earlier, her ties with Queen meant she paid a perfect homage by singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Somebody to Love – of which she had high enthusiasm of a sing-a-long, with a slightly less than enthused crowd. I think the people of Suffolk simply become shy in intimate venues! Ellis also gave a nod to a fellow “Suffolkian” as she put it, Mr Ed Sheeran, through her rendition of Give Me Love.

Continuing through the evening, she mixed show tunes, original songs and popular covers perfectly – further highlights being She Used To Be Mine from the hit Broadway musical Waitress, Dancing On My Own as originally sung by Robyn, Finding Wonderland from her most recent job of the UK tour of Wonderland the musical and of course she couldn’t leave without reminiscing her green girl days so she took on a toned down version of Defying Gravity. 

She even ended up taking on a heckler who chanted “We want Matt!” – to which she handled it like a pro, cracking jokes initially but soon gushing over him and reassuring the woman that there wasn’t long to wait.

Closing her set, she duetted Who Wants To Live Forever with Matt Cardle, and the notes she hit could have ripped the roof off! Incredible. There’s no denying Kerry is simply just effortlessly talented, and it’s clear to see why she has an army of loyal fans behind her. (PS, her cackling laugh is enough to make anyone smile!)

Following a short interval, it was Matt‘s time to shine, stomping onstage with his band in his signature skinny jeans, fitted tee and hat, and greeted with loud cheers from loyal fans – he began with Blind Faith, and similar to Ellis, Cardle created a setlist of his own tunes and well-known hits.

Covers included Jolene, Groove Is In The Heart, I Put A Spell On You and Comfortably Numb – all of which he made very much his own and were beautifully done. Another highlight track for me was one of his own songs Starlight, and it was great to hear some of his most well-loved tracks When We Collide and Desire too, while the latter hasn’t been officially released it already sounds like something I’ve heard on the radio and fans on the front row were keen to get up and dance!

Much like Kerry, it’s not hard to see why he has such a loyal fanbase as he too has quite an effortless talent and has definitely come a long way since his X-Factor days. He continuously thanks the audience for turning up, he makes a young lad’s day as he noticed his handmade banner by the third song and he dedicates Amazing to seemingly one of his most loyal fans Joyce, who is perched central second row.

Ending the evening, was a second duet between the pair, this time of Matt Cardle’s track Loving You, which he originally sang with Mel C on his 2013 album Porcelain – a lovely end to the evening.

Overall, the pair give a wonderful evening of song in this lovely venue. The two talents were a joy to witness, and as an audience all that is really asked of you is to simply sit back, relax and let the music do the talking; and sometimes that’s all we need.

Unfortunately this is the second night of two exclusive gigs, therefore there are no more dates scheduled. However, do check out The Apex listings on www.theapex.co.uk, and keep up to date with more from Matt & Kerry at mattcardlemusic.com and kerryellis.com.