Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 02/03/2012 | Laura Marling – Birmingham Symphony Hall

02/03/2012 | Laura Marling – Birmingham Symphony Hall

Lisa Ward


Laura Marling’s songs deserve unwavering attention in order to truly appreciate their power. Word heavy, poetic folk is not something you can passively receive and this makes Laura’s task of keeping the audience engaged all the harder. For the most part this is something she achieves, the solo slot in the middle being perfectly timed but there are equally moments when the variation is so subtle that you could forgive the audience for drifting off.

Opener I Was Just a Card starts with Laura’s quiet, dusky vocals, swelling mid set to culminate into an ensemble of sounds; an indicator of what’s to come. In fact, it’s fair to say the first half of the set follows a similar format, every song seeming to have a set pattern with only intricate shades of variation. Musically it’s effortless, the band no doubt being aided by the Symphony Hall’s impeccable acoustics and the sound shifting subtly between folk, bluegrass and Spanish inspired introductions.

Nevertheless there are points when Laura falters, her Brazilian rose wood guitar needing two tunes before she can launch into new song I Am A Master Hunter and a mistake at the start of Alas I Cannot Swim sticking out in an otherwise near faultless set. Whether it’s the references to Greek mythology in What He Wrote and I Speak Because I Can or the more autobiographical Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) Laura is able to carefully craft songs which capture both fable and feeling.

Towards the end of the night My Friends gets treated to a dose of rock, drifting away from the low key album version, whilst Rambling Man is left fairly untouched, and as she sings ‘let it always be know, that I was who I am’ it seems clear that the fact the albums gel so effortlessly in one night, is as a result of Laura’s unwilling to compromise on style or sound. As she closes and in her words tries to ‘reappropriate encores’ by not leaving the stage before delivering the last song, it seems clear Laura has a firm sense of conviction, which might go some way to explaining the notable absence of My Manic and I. 


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