Cultivating great musical taste

Laura Marling back in Southampton

Laura Marling

It has been a whole three years since Laura Marling last graced the stage at Southampton Guildhall, then it was in support of A Creature I Don’t Know, now it was the turn of Short Movie.

Having moved away from the folky, country sounds that were so prominent in her Mercury award nominated first two albums, she’s set her sights on the wonders of electric music. Rather incredibly she’s been able to keep a hold of her identity whilst successfully shifting in the music spectrum. Even so, it was intriguing to see how her new sound would translate to the stage.

Marling is renowned for her introspective performances and absolutely captivating shows. Until recently it was just Marling and her guitar on the stage, despite the addition of a few band members a couple of albums ago the eye was drawn to the Hampshire born singer, such was the strength of her presence.

She started off with a non-stop rendition of several songs, including Breathe, Howl and I Was an Eagle, after half an hour there was finally room for applause and Southampton welcomed Marling back warmly. After a switch over of equipment she, and her band, threw themselves into I Feel Your Love, which sounded so much better live than it does on the album. I love the album version, but this was a first proper taster of her electric prowess and it resulted in a rockier side of herself.

While the set-list ignored all the tracks from her debut and most of the ones from the second album, she did include Rambling Man and other fan favourites Sophia, Master Hunter and Goodbye Old England.

Most of the night was dedicated to the new album, unsurprisingly, and while there were a few disappointing omissions (where was Gurdjieff’s Daughter?) she brought the best of songs to the nigh. The captivating Warrior became a favourite moment of the night when Marling and the band came to a stop halfway through and she guiltily admitted that she’d forgotten the words. while some people might call this unprofessional I like the imperfections in a performance, it makes it more human. And that’s what her music is good at, exploring all kinds and ranges of human emotion and making you feel them.

Her troubles didn’t stop there, halfway through Strange (a pattern seems to be emerging) she lost her pick and considering it’s a very fast paced song she was right to say it was a bad song to lose it in the middle of.

As is expected when you go to see Laura Marling, the whole evening was spectacular. She takes you on a tour of her vocal ranges and, while you don’t expect her to cover that much, she’s able to reach heights not often heard on her records and she deftly switches from note to note and tone to tone.

Marling is always a firm favourite and we’re really hoping she doesn’t leave it another three years before coming back to Southampton, you always make the night entertaining. Best of luck with rest of your tour.

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