Serpentine Sessions – Laura Marling @ Hyde Park 1st July 2010

Laura Marling is one of those talents that you must go and see. She is an incredible artist who has had two amazing albums full of infectious folk songs. I arrived at Hyde Park at 3pm only to find no one there whatsoever. When the time neared to 6pm that when you had loads of people sitting on the green waiting for the doors to open. Everyone then eventually got up and went in the 4 different gates. The thing I liked was there was not an urgency of people desperately wanting to get in straight away. So once I had my ticket scanned it was straight into the main tent. I would of liked to have seen Alessi’s Ark, Smoke Faries and Peggy Sue on the bandstand stage but due to the fact I wanted to see Laura made it inevitable that I stayed. Infact I was the first inside the tent and chose to stand left centre. Everyone then decided to sit down as the first band Fanfarlo were due on at 7.25. Fanfarlo performed a 8 song set. The were a nice act to warm up the crowd. The tent did begin to fill little. The set featured songs from album Reservoir and a few others that did not appear on there. The set kicked off with The Walls Are Coming Down and following on was Finish Line. Finish Line is a nice soft gentle song. Harold T Wilkins is very up beat and has fantastic lyrics. We Live By The Lake then Twilight Eclipse track Atlas were the next 2 songs on the night. The final three songs were Fire Escape, new ish song Waiting In The Wings and then the fast paced Luna.

SET LIST

The Walls Are Coming Down
Finish Line
Harold T Wilkins
We Live By The Lake
Atlas
Fire Escape
Waiting In The Wings
Luna

At 8.30 it was time for the wonder that is Laura Marling. The set was split into sections these were band for first six songs, Solo Marling for the next six then the band for the following four. On the night there was 16 songs played spanning over both albums Alas I Cannot Swim and I Speak Because I Can. Two covers and two new songs were added into the mix as well. Laura has been gaining quite a following having played Glastonbury the week before. Even thought the stage banter was not great the music makes up for it. This is folk music at its best and the songs sung on the night were so strong and mesmerising at the same time. She eased through this set and it was over in a flash. The first three songs were taken from current album I Speak Because I Can. Devil’s Spoke opened up and for Hope In The Air everyone was singing along to the chorus. Rambling Man followed on then both Ghosts and My Manic and I from the first album got a fantastic response from the crowd. Ending the band set was Blackberry Stone. Now this song has haunting vocals which I like. So the band left the stage to leave Marling by herself. “It’s just you and me” Laura quipped. Kicking off the solo set were two new songs.

If Don’t Ask Me Why and Rest In The Bed Of My Bones appear on the third album it will be simply incredible. The cover of Neil Young’s The Needle And The Damage Done was simply incredible which she definitely made her own. Night Terror which is another haunting song was extraordinary. Laura mentioned that she wanted to try something “mega” this was for every one to join in with the whistling. This was said because there was no violin to play the part. Still the whistling was funny because Laura made a alteration to the whistling. Another cover then followed on this was Jackson C Frank’s Blues Run The Game. I haven’t heard the original before but this version sounded both perfect and beautiful. Ending the solo set was a song about England this being Goodbye England (Covered In Snow). After the band then made their way to the stage and they were introduced one by one. The haunting Alpha Shallows followed on then it was then onto a song that they had not sung live before (Actually it was sung live at the London Palladium). The song in question being the ever so strong What He Wrote.

Once this song was over Laura mentioned the cliché of the encore and how she pays to go to a gig and everyone expects one. There was a way around this. Laura then went onto say “If you wanted a encore this is the last song, if you didn’t this is the second to last song”. Alas I Cannot Swim was the penultimate song. The story behind this song is simple it is about a girl who has a obstacle in the way this being a river. This girl cannot swim so she cannot get to the house nor boy gold across the river. Once over you had people in the crowd chanting for a encore. The wonderful night at Hyde Park was then capped off with an outstanding performance of title track to the second LP I Speak Because I Can. This song was simply belted out.

SET LIST

Devil’s Spoke
Hope In The Air
Rambling Man
Ghosts
My Manic And I
Blackberry Stone

Solo

Don’t Ask Me Why
Rest In The Bed
The Needle and The Damage Done
Night Terror
Blues Run The Game
Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

Band

Alpha Shallows
What He Wrote
ENCORE

Alas I Cannot Swim
I Speak Because I Can

OVERALL: The Serpentine Sessions came to a end with the folk sensation which is Laura Marling. Laura is one incredible artist and plenty of people in the crowd shared my same view. Some had banners one fan even said will you marry me which left Laura kind of flummoxed. There is something special about her and the moment another tour is announced I am so there. The two new songs are incredible and will definitely feature on the 3rd LP and the covers were spine tingling. The set was due to end at 10 but finished about 9.50pm. Perhaps Laura was playing at a fast pace but I didn’t mid because I had one fantastic evening.

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