Live Review: Laura Marling

Bootlegs, News - Published: 22 March 2012

A packed crowd turned up mid-week to catch the English folk prodigy play Théâtre de L’Alhambra

“Bonjour, je m’appelle Laura and…that’s it”. Laura Marling, introduces herself timidly to the  Théâtre de L’Alhambra crowd, but that certainly wasn’t it. One minute later she belts out ‘The Muse’, the opening track off her third album ‘Creature I Don’t Know’ released in September. Barely pausing for breath, she then rattled off several more songs from the record, including ‘Don’t Ask Me Why’ and ‘Salinas’. Many of these more recent songs have acquired a lively country edge to them, with a definite expansion into folk-rock.

Accompanied by cello, bass, drums, banjo, keyboard and lead guitar, Marling interchanges between newer songs and old favourites, whilst retaining the unique type of folksy story-telling the 22-year old has become so well known for. Mid-set she performed a handful of songs solo, telling the crowd: “It’s just you and me now”. It was a dedicated fan club gathered at the canal-side Paris venue and many sang along, especially to older tunes like ‘Ghosts’ and my ‘Manic and I’.

Laura Marling is a woman of few words, letting her songs do the speaking for her. The singer constantly apologises for her lack of showmanship but she regaled the crowd by divulging she wrote the song ‘Blackberry Stone’ whilst in Paris. “I was sitting at a café here today” she said “and I was thinking how I could easily live here and just smoke and drink coffee. Because that’s obviously all you do,” she added quickly with a wry laugh. “But then I realised I’m not cool enough. Everyone here is so cool.” Flattery will get you everywhere Marling.

“I was sitting at a café here today and I was thinking how I could easily live here and just smoke and drink coffee. Because that’s obviously all you do. But then I realised I’m not cool enough.”

As well as some of her golden oldies she also treated the crowd to a hot-out-of-the-oven song, whilst apologising once again: “I go to gigs quite often so I know how annoying it is when people play new songs, but oh well”. If the song, called ‘Once is Enough to Break You’ is anything to go by, her next album will return once again to her more folksy roots.

In staying with tradition the singer refused to indulge the crowd with an encore (Marling has said she thinks encores have lost their meaning, with bands saving their last few songs until they come back on stage). But she definitely left the crowd calling for ‘encore une fois’…

Laura Marling’s set list:

I Was Just a Card, The Muse, Salinas, Blackberry Stone, Ghosts, Alas I Cannot Swim, Needle and Damage Done (Neil Young Cover), My Manic and I, Once is Enough to Break You, Goodbye England, Night After Night, Alpha Shallows, Sophia, Rambling Man, I Speak Because I Can