Page 53

REVIEWS:LIVE MUSIC Laura Marling Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 4/5 Since the release of 2008’s “Alas, I Cannot Swim”, Laura Marling has gone from strength to strength. Although to be fair she started off with a Mercury Prize nomination, you would think that the pressure of expectation would tell but it seems not. This year Marling has already released the album “I Speak Because I Can” and she is expected to release her third album in October this year. The quiet, reserved onstage appearance of Marling, is odd, particularly in comparison to the strong, vibrant vocals that she delivers on a track by track basis. Clear and precise, poetic lyricism together with distinctive vocals infuse the performance from the very beginning. Through nearly ninety minutes of bliss, Marling takes you by the hand through big band numbers, acoustic solos, quietly stomping feet, and then all the way back to the folky rock sounds that bely her indie background. The band lining up behind is a mixed group, with Pete Roe on a variety of instruments and Boy And Bear’s Jake Tarasenko and Tim Hart. With two flat caps between the group on stage, it would be easy to pass Jenny Owen Youngs o2 Academy 2, Birmingham 3/5 Brooklyn’s Jenny Owen Youngs is a confident yet unassuming figure as she takes to the stage at the sold out o2 Academy 2. Dazzled by a brilliant blue light, Youngs keeps the conversation to minimum and focusses steadfastly on the task ahead - to entertain with her simple yet effective compositions. Relatively unknown on these shores, Youngs has a tough task ahead of her. It is never easy to present previously unheard tracks to an audience who wants to sing and dance. However, Youngs succeeds due only to her easy going attitude. Reminiscent of KT Tunstall, Youngs’ is inoffensive but sadly forgettable. Her material enjoyable upon listening but forgotten the instant she sashays into her next

them off, but Marling’s band tracks have an eagerness, that drives you forward. Once they leave the stage and Marling is alone she becomes more questioning in her tone, and the night takes on a peculiar hue, until the band are back. At one stage doing ‘Night Terror’, she announces that she has no fiddler, but that she doesn’t to lose the fiddle solo - and so she whistles the solo for the crowd! Quite an interesting turn of events, and the crowd thoroughly appreciate it.

formidable on any stage.

It would be too easy to arbitrarily compare her vocals to other female soloists. However the mixture of Alison Krauss-esque clarity of vocals, the boldness of KT Tunstall and the ability to hold the audiences attention through a story, like a certain Seth Lakeman, make Marling

Laura Marling is one of those artists whose use of striking melodies and characteristically poetic lyrics, makes for an evening that could be easily described as out of the ordinary before she even is in the building. Her distinctive vocals infuse the performance from the very beginning, and her presence is soothing on stage to be the soul and the mind. Constantinos Kypridemos song. Nevertheless, the crowd warm to Youngs and she responds with occasional conversation attempts. The quirky, lopped “What Beats Within” appears out of nowhere and suddenly Youngs shows that she knows what is needed to make it. The uplifting vocal is rousing and soon enough there isn’t a still shoulder in the house. Youngs may not be a remarkable songwriter, but there is something in her presence that compels. Barely a soul moves position during her set, glued to the spot instead of desiring a drink. Few performers have the ability to command complete attention, but despite her flaws Youngs managed to have cast a spell without barely moving an inch. Jeremy WIlliams

53

Profile for The Kaje

The Kaje, Issue 1 (May 2010)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 1 takes a look at: Alexan...

The Kaje, Issue 1 (May 2010)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 1 takes a look at: Alexan...

Profile for the_kaje