Let me start by saying I am a Laura Marling fan. I always have been and always will be. This was my first time seeing her live and there was an air of anticipation at Vicar Street (Thursday, 23 June ’11) especially amongst those who had been waiting since her postponed December date.
Support act Louise And The Pins were on stage just after 8pm but unfortunately I just didn’t see the appeal. While their nautical theme was visually pretty the vocals left a lot to be desired. Louise’s affected singing voice grated on my nerves and after three or four songs all seemingly centering around the words “start”, “heart” and “fight” we left the crowd to it.
Marling made it on stage just after 9:30pm or so and her voice was pitch perfect. She was charming and the nearly full capacity Vicar Street was enthralled. There was a lot more interaction with the audience than I had expected but she still did appear quite awkward. Perhaps Laura is now resigned to the fact that if she wants to keep her fans sweet a little engagement is required. Apparently she is much improved since her last visit to these shores during which she was described as “painfully shy”.
The setlist included gems such as ‘Rambling Man’, ‘Ghosts’ (obviously), ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’, ‘You’re No God’ and she also performed a sublime cover of Jackson C. Frank’s ‘Blues Run the Game’ which allowed the hushed awe of the audience to prosper. She also played several songs from the new album, ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ – set for release in September, all containing the distinctive Marling sound. This album may follow the lines of ‘I Speak Because I Can’, which had less immediate impact than its predecessor ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’. In other words I think from what we heard it might be another grower.
There were some disappointments, mainly due to an “Oliver Twist” hungry-for-more crowd. There were some notable absences too with many (myself included) hoping to hear ‘Failure’, ‘Tap At My Window’, ‘Crawl Out of the Sea’ and ‘My Manic and I’. At a running time of just under an hour and a blanket ban on encores there was a palpable frustration amongst the crowd. Many in attendance may think twice before parting with nearly €30 to see Laura Marling et al live again. But I will say this for the girl, she sure can sing – if only she’d sung a little more.
Laura Marling – Darkness Descends