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21st March 2012

Live: Laura Marling @ Apollo

Marling’s songs are personal, honest and at time, genuinely affecting.

Laura Marling/Timber Timbre
Manchester Apollo
9th March
4 Stars

“You guys ready to rock n’ roll tonight?” Timber Timbre’s Taylor Kirk asks the steady collective murmuring of a restless support crowd. “…yeah I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Kirk’s extraordinary brand of spooky swamp folk, sounding like a cross between age-old delta blues and the ghost of M. Ward, unfortunately failed to really capture the imaginations of the seated Apollo crowd. As a big fan, I spent most of the set sulking to myself about this, but the 3500-capacity hall was admittedly a strange environment for a sound that relies so heavily on its own macabre atmosphere and intimate boneyard charm. Regardless, he kept up the enthusiasm and crooned his heart out, from the wonderful ‘Demon Host’ to a stomping stripped-down version of ‘Bad Ritual’.

Unsurprisingly, the mood was transformed at the entrance of headliner Laura Marling, who peppered new tracks and fan favourites in with songs from her latest album, A Creature I Don’t Know. Demonstrating a guitar-playing fluency well beyond her years, and with a stunning voice, the potency of her stage presence is undeniable.

This presence is made all the more remarkable by her endearingly reserved and minimal on-stage banter. She seems comfortable, but predominantly humble about her clear success, and from asking each member of the band to provide a “fact for the day” to telling the unlikely story behind the name of her debut album, the atmosphere is relaxed and inclusive.

She demonstrates an impressive skill, as a musician as well as a songwriter, and the songs are personal, honest and at times, genuinely affecting.

Laura Marling – All My Rage

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