Laura Marling is a exceptional artist with a beautiful voice. In fact she has had my full support ever since I purchased debut album Alas I Cannot Swim after only having listened to it once. That album proved to be one of my favourite albums released in 2008. Ever since then I have been to gigs and instores and each time I am left with the tingles as Laura has such a strong voice and sings perfect folk/ pop songs. Two years later follow up I Speak Because I Can is released and a third LP is expected to be released later on in the year. Well the set was a mixture of songs from the new album, some from the debut, a couple of new songs and a cover. Due to problems with transport getting up to London it resulted in me getting there 15 minutes after the doors had opened. Even though the ticket said 8pm doors the show had already started. The opening support was Australian band Boy & Bear. With it had already started by the time I reached my seat it didn’t give me enough time to absorb the music. The second support was Alessi’s Ark fronted by Alessi Laurent-Marke. Now I was pretty excited to hear her live again. I have the album Notes From The Treehouse which was released last year. The set featured both material from the album and one song from the current EP Soul Proprietor. The set was 7 songs long and Alessi just blitzed through them. Songs which were sung were The Dog, Constellations, The Bird Song (from Soul Proprietor), Woman, The Horse and Hummingbird. Alessi interacted with the crowd which I thought was great also she was very excited about Miss Laura coming on. Well there were only two members of the ark these being Marcus and the talented Pete Roe who was also going to be playing with Laura. Overall the set was fantastic it makes me want to get out the CD. Also the fact that the sold out Palladium hadn’t reached full capacity by that time was a shame. Alessi is a star in the making.
So at 9.15pm Laura made her entrance onto the stage to cheers. Everyone were in their seats to witness an outstanding gig which was divided into three parts. Even though I was seated in J34 on the ground I still had a perfect view. Taking pictures didn’t turn out the best as I was quite a distance away from the stage and flash photography wasn’t aloud. Once Laura made her way onto the stage she scanned the sold out crowd and then went onto say “There is a lot of you here” and moments later she said “But that’s not a bad thing”. This by far had to be the biggest show to date and she has gained a lot of confidence since the very first time I saw her at The Social in 2008 (Laura kept her eyes closed and didn’t maintain eye contact with the audience). Opening things up was the current single Devil’s Spoke. Now this is a perfect folk song and it was a good opening song. It is both strong and powerful as well. Hope In The Air is one of my favourite songs off the new album which is a steady paced song and gets stronger when it progresses. The lyrics are brilliant as well. Rambling Man is the forthcoming single and it is strong. Laura gives it her all and delivers a fantastic performance. Once Ghosts is played there is a huge cheer from the crowd. Laura then stops playing the guitar and said “You almost thought we were professional”. After the pause Laura dives into the song straight away. Even though the first album is two years old it is still a pleasure hearing old material. Ghosts was infact the first single released and I love the folkness of the song. Once over there was a rapture of applause. The final song in this part was Blackberry Stone. Originally it featured as a B Side on Cross Your Fingers but has made its way to the current album. It was a nice song and Laura has a ever so haunting vocals. The band then went off stage just leaving Laura on it.
Kicking off the second part of the gig was an acoustic Laura at her best. Laura then said she will play a new song because I can. I do not know the title of the song so I will call it New One. It is a beautiful song with a interesting melody. Parts of it are strong and I like some of the guitar rifts. Neil Young cover The Needle And The Damage Done saw Marling say to the audience that her mum always had said that Laura wrote the song and didn’t know it was about drugs. Still this ever so short take on the song was completely unique. Laura definitely made it her own. After it was onto my favourite song from the first album. This being Failure and it is a catchy song and you can easily picture a story from the lyrics sung. Night Terror then followed on. This song sounded haunting. Also Laura mentioned that there is a part where the fiddle player plays but the fiddle player did not come on tour. Laura went onto say she would whistle it because she is “Tip Top” at whistling. For Rest In My Bed Laura mentions she has played the song in the States and would like it to feature in a film. The response she got back was that it would fit well with Twilight. Still it is a nice steady paced song with some powerful lyrics that Laura delivers perfectly. There is no doubt that this song would feature on the 3rd LP. After it was then onto Made A Maid which was a short strong song with a steady pace. The final song of the acoustic Laura set was Goodbye England (Covered In Snow). This was a gentle pure folk song which Laura delivered superbly. When I first saw her singing it live Laura said it was her attempt of a Christmas song.
The rest of the band come onstage for what would be three more songs. First off its What He Wrote which had some powerful lines. Alpha Shallows followed on and it is a really haunting song which I like. Rounding off the night was the hidden track of the first album. Alas I Cannot Swim got cheers from the crowd and it was a perfect folk song. In this song the only obstacle is there river because the girl cannot swim. She cant get to a house across the river nor the boy across the river. The song ends with “there’s gold across the river but I don’t want none”. The message at the end is “Work More, Earn More, Live More, Have More Fun”. After it has finished Laura tells us her formula for encores. Basically she doesn’t do a encore Laura just does it at the end of the last song on the night. This being if you did want a encore this was the last song if not this was the second to last song. When Laura said this there were plenty of applause and when the song started there were plenty of cheers. This being My Manic & I and the song went down well with the crowd. I was hanging onto every word . Ending the night was the last song this being title track I Speak Because I Can. Before singing the song Laura got a sitting ovation for about a minute. Well the song is a haunting one which is just belted out. Laura has extremely powerful vocals.
Hope In The Air
The Needle And The Damage Done (Neil Young Cover)
Rest In The Bed
Made A Maid
Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
What He Wrote
Alas I Cannot Swim
My Manic & I
I Speak Because I Can
OVERALL – This was a brilliant gig with wonderful support. There is something about Laura Marling I like. Her album is probably the only album I can listen to again straight after I have listened to it once. This was the last date of the tour and what a lovely place to end it at a sold out London Palladium. There was something so special on the night. The way the material was a mixture of new and old was wonderful. It is always nice hearing old songs when the tour is in support of the first album. Also the new songs there is no doubt they will appear on the 3rd LP. The Neil Young cover one word amazing.