Review: Laura Marling at The Corn Exchange
ANGUS MACDONALD: “Ms. Marling’s gentle blushing nervousness was matched by a genuinely humbled audience. It was a brilliantly balanced act.”
Saturday 17th April at The Corn Exchange.
Normally gigs are among the few opportunities I get to shrug my houmous eating habits and forget my love of Kettle Chips; getting covered in lager and pushed around is strangely life affirming. Instead, Laura Marling had requested a seated audience. Despite initial reservations, it became clear why. A truly intimate performance followed.
Ms. Marling's gentle blushing nervousness was matched by a genuinely humbled audience. It was a brilliantly balanced act. She played the beginning and end of the gig with the support of a band, but the core of it by herself, with only a spotlight to accompany her (Angelic connotations did not go unnoticed). This allowed her to really fill the space with her sound and include instruments like cello and jazz organ, but at the same time create an intimate atmosphere. It was like having a girlfriend who could spend time with your friends but still be your girlfriend.
She drew equally from her new and old albums, including 'Blackberry Stone', 'Goodbye England (covered in snow)' and 'Alas I cannot Swim' and took the time out to perform two other songs – a cover of Neil Young's 'The Needle and the Damage Done', which she informed us was something she'd been playing since she first learnt guitar, and another song she'd composed on the tour. It was moments like this, along with her messing up while playing "Failure" (irony anybody?) and her decision to improvise a whistling solo during "Night Terror" that combined to shrink the venue down to something a whole lot more tight knit.
Before her penultimate song she confided that she'd never understood encores and had thus decided upon the following compromise – "If you like them, this is the last song. If you don't, this is the penultimate song." She opened that confession with "We're friends now right?" Yes Laura, we're friends.