Little Noise Sessions – Marina and the Diamonds @ St John at Hackney 23rd November 2011

The Little Noise Sessions takes place every November and each year there are one or two gigs that take your fancy. Artists headlining their very own session included Elbow, Chris Martin & Jonny Buckland, Goldfrapp, Example and Sinead O’ Connor. The one that took my fancy straight away was Marina and the Diamonds. Back in 2009 Marina was due to support Alexandra Burke but unfortunately pulled out. Other artists that were on the bill for this date were Spark and Icona Pop. I would say this was the best line up by far compared to the other dates. Unfortunately The Little Noise Sessions were not taking place at the Union Chapel which was ashame as I grew to love that venue for intimate gigs like this. So for the 6th year the new venue was St John at Hackney. Putting everything into perspective I would say the acoustics were amazing. I started to queue around 3.50pm and there were already 6 people there. Thank God that doors opened at 6.30pm as it was freezing. So once inside it was then over an hours wait till the first act of the night.

It had been a while since I last saw Spark play. In fact I witnessed her for the first time supporting Marina and the Diamonds at Bloomsbury Ballroom last May and I have been a fan ever since. I well and truly tip Spark as I find her outstanding and the short set she performed was very special. Jess Morgan made her entrance around 7.50pm along with a string quartet. Just having a string section added another dimension to the songs which were performed. Opening up was Damage Done and this beautiful song sent shivers up my spine. Morgan delivered this mellowing song to perfection. “Hi everyone, My name is Spark and it’s a massive massive compliment to be here tonight” Jess said before revealing that Mencap is a charity close to her heart. It was then onto Receiver. It had some really catchy lyrics. Something truly incredible was next and the strings section made it even more amazing. Spark mentioned she would be playing a cover during her set on Twitter. The song in question being Eminem’s Lose Yourself. Words cannot describe how brilliant her take on this song was. Let’s just say with the string section the song had been completely re worked. “Actually tonight is really special to me because the first thing I ever did performing live was going on a sold out UK tour supporting Marina and the Diamonds” Jess then said after she had just finished her outstanding cover. “By the way Icona Pop and Marina and the Diamonds are going to blow your minds”. The sets by Icona Pop and Marina and the Diamonds were fantastic but that string section when Spark was singing literally blew me away. The 2nd single was next and this being Revolving. This song sounded so different and this being down to the string section. Considering Jess had contracted laryngitis a couple of days before vocally this song was perfect. “This is my last song, It’s been a pleasure I’ve had a lot of fun” Jess said before launching into the final song and this being Try. This song was sung at a steady pace and it had mellowing lyrics. Out of all the songs sung during the set this is the one I most like to see feature on the début album.

SET LIST

Damage Done
Receiver
Lose Yourself
Revolving
Try

Caroline Hjelt & Aino Jawo are Swedish sensations Icona Pop. I predict this band to be MASSIVE in 2012. Last month they released the Nights Like This EP and this makes me look forward to a full length release even more. They are the present day Abba and the music that they sing is Synth/ Electronic pop which on a whole is fantastic. I look forward to when they are next performing live in London.

It was around 9.20pm Marina Diamandis made her entrance onto the stage. It was last Winter when I last saw her perform live. This year has seen Marina go over to America to support the one and only Katy Perry making her Little Noise Session the only UK show of this year. The set mainly consisted of material from début album The Family Jewels. New tracks did feature in the set but these were in the public domain as Diamandis posted them through Youtube. The set kicked off with Radioactive which is the current single. This acoustic piano led song was a real crowd pleaser. Marina’s vocals were impeccable. Once over she then moved over to the keyboard for quirky début single Obsessions. This was a nice gentle ballad which Diamandis played beautifully. It also conveys a message that everyone has there own obsessions. “Good evening, Hello how we doing? It’s very nice to be back” Marina said before launching into I Am Not A Robot. As expected this turned out to be a massive sing along. This song was delivered perfectly and the acoustics from Marina’s operatic vocals sent shivers down my spine. “Do any of you know the song Living Dead?” she said to the audience before they erupted into cheers. Living Dead touched on the main themes of Marina’s earlier work which were loneliness, alienation and outsiders. “I’m so happy to be doing gigs again, Like you’re making me so happy ” Diamandis said to the crowd before launching into another old one and this being Numb. Prior occasions Marina had played this song on her keyboard but not this time. Instead she powered through Numb and the vocals were faultless, plenty of people were singing along.

It was then onto one of Marina’s favourite songs from the forthcoming album The Starring Role which Diamandis recently posted on Youtube. The song was played at a mid tempo and was very smooth. There was a short introduction for Are You Satisfied, this being the chorus which had been slowed down. Straight after it was then into the song which hit you full on. The lyrics were fantastic, the chorus was extremely powerful and the song itself was rather uptempo. Once over Marina introduced her band before launching into the high octane Mowgli’s Road. This song oozed both charisma and energy. Mowgli’s Road was delivered to pure perfection. It was then onto an oldie and this being Jealousy which didn’t feature on the début album The Family Jewels. This song was very catchy and vocally it sounds fantastic. I love this song why it didn’t make the cut on the 1st album I do not know. Straight after it was onto the crowd pleasing Hollywood. There was plenty of jumping up and down during it’s powerful/ infectious chorus. “Thankyou so much for coming” Marina said before rounding off the evening with another newie and this being Fear And Loathing. Out of the new songs played during the set this had to be my favourite. It was delivered beautifully. The lyric I liked the most was: And now the time is here/ Baby you don’t have to live your life in fear/ And the sky is clear/ Is clear of fear. Once over Diamandis and the rest of her band exited the stage. Moments later Marina returned to perform something rather special. This being Shampain which was delivered as an acoustic ballad.

 SET LIST

Radioactive
Obsessions
I Am Not A Robot
Living Dead
Numb
The Starring Role
Are You Satisfied?
Mowgli’s Road
Jealousy
Hollywood
Fear And Loathing

ENCORE

Shampain

OVERALL: This was an amazing night. I loved Icona Pop, Spark blew me away and Marina was on fire. Even though there were no special guests on the bill I feel like these three phenomenal acts were enough to make this very special indeed. When Spark took to the stage words cannot describe how brilliant it was. I am guessing performing when a string quartet was a one off. Basically you heard the songs at a brand new angle. The cover of Lose Yourself was simply stunning. Now Icona Pop were fantastic. The material sung during their set was brilliant and makes me anticipate the full length LP. When they next announce that they are performing live I’ll be there in a heartbeat. As for Marina it was great just seeing her perform again. The new material was brilliant and Fear and Loathing has to be my favourite song from the forthcoming new album which I’m itching to purchase.

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