Thursday, April 8, 2010
LAURA MARLING (The Zoo)
She was the best thing to emerge from the year that was 2008. She produced one of the best albums of that year, one of the best songs of that year and one of the most haunting music videos. Laura Marling was it when it came to '08. Why then are there still so many people who don't know who she is? With her second album just released and a series of gigs bridging the gap between albums number one and two, Marling ventured Downunder late January to whet the appetites of potential fans and to satiate those who'd fallen under her charms after listening to Alas I Cannot Swim.
Recorded at the age of seventeen, her debut album exhibited an artist well beyond her years. The folk stylings of her work far outweighed any faux-folk being released within the mainstream market and she cut to the truth of the matter, which was quite plain and simply that she could write, play and sing some darned great songs. Just shy of her twentieth birthday her performance at Brisbane's The Zoo, captured both that gentile persona and undeniable talent so evident in her recorded work. For she is an artist of considerable heft.
With some substantial stagemates in Marcus Mumford on drums, support from the boys of Boy & Bear and regular band mates, she still stands front and centre and commands every little bit of attention given stage-way. It's a quiet confidence undermined slightly by her seeming lack of assurance, however, as an artist battling intense heat and humidity in a difficult venue to play she managed to emerge mostly unscathed.
Focusing largely on songs from the new album, I Speak Because I Can, Marling spent most of her down time quietly introducing each of the new tracks or commenting quietly on the fact that the heat was incredibly affecting to a crowd obviously in love with her and her work. She could have sat down on the edge of the stage with the fan blowing strongly in her face and the crowd would inevitably have walked away satisfied such was the support. And she commented on that fact when, suffering a mindblank, she forgot the chords whilst singing from Alas... to the encouraging and cheering crowd. Sweat-laden forehead, heat-rouged cheeks and that slight slip-up aside there was nothing much about Marling's performance that would have detracted from a strong set.
She's an incredible voice and beauty on stage that simply washes over an audience. Add in the impeccable songs and you've got a fantastic gig well worth the $50-odd dollar ticket price. And just like that ring in 'My Manic And I' her voice fell from her mouth like a gift to the audience. Laura Marling is a gem and a young one at that that her fans should be holding very close to their chests before they let her go to the big wide world of superstardom that may very well capture her if she continues to produce and perform some of the best music being made anywhere in the world.