Laura Marling @ Purcell Room 16th March 2012

6 Music were celebrating their 10th Birthday at London’s Southbank Centre. This occasion was marked by two fantastic gigs which featured an mixture of different artists. The larger Queen Elizabeth Hall played host to Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny, Anna Calvi, Gruff Rhys, Graham Coxon and was headlined by John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd. While over in the smaller Purcell Room in London you had the hotly tipped Lianne La Havas and the majestic Laura Marling. As well as that taking place in The Front Room was a free even which featured DJ sets as well as live sets by Cerys Matthews and Huey Morgan. Only 500 wristbands were given out to people who wanted to attend this event. The Southbank website said turn up early but what they failed to mention was the fact if you already had a ticket you could still get a wristband. I arrived around 3pm and found myself to be the first there. It wasn’t that long until the next person arrived. Come 5.20pm the queue was rather long. Once inside I made my way to The Front Room and waited until the first artist took to the stage. The evening consisted of a 60 minute set by the one and only Cerys Matthews. This wasn’t to be a solo slot instead it was a collaboration with some extremely talented musicians. Taking part in this collaboration was Arun Ghosh who is a British-Asian clarinettist, composer and music educator, speed poet Musa Okwonga, Corey Mwamba and Attab Haddad. Cerys’s parts included La Tarara by FG Lorca, a reading of Philip Larkin’s poem For Sidney Bechet with Arun Ghosh, Can Merthyr and ended with a reading of Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas. I must say La Tarara sounded stunning. Okwonga made two readings of his poetry first being Passport then Accelerate was something well and truly amazing. Another thing that stood out for me was Corey Mwamba who played the vibraphone. Basically that performance made my spine tingle.

SET LIST

How Can You Say So
Arun – Aurora
Musa (Solo)
Corey (Solo)
Attab (Solo)
Cerys – La Tarara
Arun – Yerma
Musa – Passport
Cerys + Arun – For Sidney Bechet
Arun – Longsight Lagoon
Musa – Accelerate
Cerys – Can Merthyr
A Child’s Christmas

A hour later it was then onto a short set by Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan who also has his own slot on 6 Music. This short but sweet set only lasted for under 20 minutes and Morgan played 5 songs. Huey was joined by a guitarist and the drummer from Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Even though this was a solo performance the audience were really seeing 2/3 of FLC. The set started with The Ripple. Now I am not familiar with Morgan’s solo music but this song was rather impressive. The vocals were very sleek and smoky at the same time. “It’s a pleasure to be here for 6 Musics 10th anniversary. I’m kind of a newbie. I’ve been here for about 4 years and I love it” Huey said before playing Fall Into Me. With the fact he has no material out in the public domain the songs he did not introduce I had to guess on the names. Fall Into Me was rather impressive and Morgan’s vocals were extremely husky/ smoky. I also picked up on a Country vibe. “We’re playing both Country and Western tonight. Now I wanted to write a song about a girl with a girls name in it. But where I come from Sheniqua is a common name” Huey said before launching into Sheniqua. I found this song to be rather smooth and it was played at a steady pace. “This next song it’s kind of out of season” Mogan said before I Guess It’s Christmas By The Side Of The Road. I actually found this song to be very upbeat and I really liked it’s gentle chorus. Morgan then signed off with Only But Good. All in all this was an enjoyable set and just seeing an artist (who is in a band your a fan of) up close was extremely surreal.

SET LIST

The Ripple
Fall Into Me
Sheniqua
I Guess It’s Christmas By The Side Of The Road
Only But Good

At 9pm doors finally opened for the 2nd gig in the Purcell Room which was headlined by the entrancing Laura Marling. Even though I prefer the standing venues my friend was fortunate to get 2 front row tickets. So I then took to my seat and the evening kicked off promptly. The support act this evening was the highly talented singer/ song writer Lianne La Havas who has been hotly tipped. After unfortunately missing out on her residency at The Social this was the 1st time I had witnessed her live. La Havas performed a 8 song set previewing material which will without a doubt feature on the forthcoming début LP. No Room For Doubt opened up this fantastic set. There was a strong folk vibe to this song. La Havas’s vocals were really soothing and mesmerising. “Good evening everybody and Happy Birthday BBC 6” Lianne said to the audience before getting stuck into the upbeat Au Cinema. This song was excellent I really liked the lyrics which were delivered at a steady pace. “Now I would like to share with you a song about my Ex Boyfriend” Lianne said before playing Forget on her guitar. This song served as the 1st release taken from the forthcoming LP Is Your Love Big Enough. Forget was delivered to perfection. There was a dash of soul and the vocals were silky smooth. “So now I’m going to play a couple of songs on my own. So I think that calls for an intimate type of moment for you and me” Lianne said to the audience before Tease Me. It’s lyrics were very clear and you could picture what was happening. Straight after it was into Age which I found to be rather quirky. Through the lyrics La Havas was basically saying that age doesn’t matter in the relationship sense. “I’ve got a love song for you now. I’m going to dedicate it to BBC 6 Music” Lianne mentioned before Don’t Wake Me Up. The harmonising was spot on and La Havas’s vocals were extremely powerful. “Thankyou very much. You are very kind. It”s lovely to meet you, I’m Lianne and this is my band. So now we’re going to play for you my forthcoming single, which I’m very excited about”. Now I found Lost & Found  to be beautiful and there was a tinge of emotion. “So I’ve reached my final song, so I like to thank you all for listening. I’m going to leave you with the song that completes the story of my Ex Boyfriend” La Havas told the intimate audience before capping off her set with the stunning song Gone. This 8 song set was superb I think I have witnessed an artist who has the potential to be huge by the end of 2012. This July sees Lianne play Village Underground and I urge any lover of Folk/ Soul music to attend. La Havas will literally blow you away.

SET LIST

No Room For Doubt
Au Cinema
Forget
Tease Me
Age
Don’t Wake Me Up
Lost & Found
Gone

After having just wrapped up The Wisdom Of Spring Tour Laura Marling was set to play at the Southbank Centre in conjunction with 6 Music’s 10th birthday. The Purcell Room is the smallest venue in the Southbank Centre and has a capacity of just under 400 people. The fact it was all seated made it even more intimate. Marling and the rest of her band took to the stage around 10.20. Laura was sporting dungarees and immediately kicked things off with I Was Just A Card. There is a strong folk vibe to this song and Marling’s vocal ability is extraordinary. After plenty of applause it was then onto The Muse. This song sounded different compared to other material by Marling yes the Folk vibe is there but it also sounded like there was a dash of Country. The Muse was rather pacey and this song was delivered to perfection. “Happy Birthday 6 Music. I’m a fan and I think that’s all you can say to a radio station” Laura then went onto say to the audience. What followed on was two songs these being Don’t Ask Me Why and Salinas. These songs were infused together so you could think it of one long song. Don’t Ask Me Why was both gentle/ beautiful and also entrancing as well. Salinas sounded superb and it was also heavier at the same time. The haunting Blackberry Stone then followed on. I found this song to be rather soothing. It was then onto Ghosts which was taken from the 1st album Alas I Cannot Swim. This song was rather up tempo and it also had strong folk roots. Up next was the quirky Alas I Cannot Swim. 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.

“So I’m pretty sure we’re off air now. I hope we are, so I can talk to you all. Coz if there’s a sure fire way of making an awkward person more awkward is putting them live on the radio in a roomful of people” Marling said to the audience after the band had left the stage. This section of the set was solo and it started with Neil Young’s The Needle And The Damage Done. Marling also mentioned that when she started playing this song at gigs her Mum thought she had wrote it. Still this song was superb and Marling put her own stamp of individuality onto the song. It was then onto My Manic And I which was the lead track from the self titled EP which was released in 2007. This song is really wonderful and one of my many favourite Laura Marling songs. “I’m going to play a new song now, there’s not much else I could tell you about that” she then told the audience before getting stuck into Once. This song was drenched in folkness and makes me excited about the 4th Marling album. I actually found Once to be very soothing. Ending this solo slot was Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) which was simply spell binding. The band then came back onto the stage for Night Terror B side Alpha Shallows. This song also made it’s way onto the sophomore album I Speak Because I Can. I found Alpha Shallows to be slightly haunting. It was then onto Sophia straight away. This song started off slow but as it progressed it gained an faster tempo and got alot stronger. Rambling Man was delivered strongly and Laura’s vocals made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. “We’ve got one more song for you. Thankyou so much for being so kind to us and Happy Birthday 6 Music” Marling said before capping off the evening with the wonderful I Speak Because I Can.

SET LIST

I Was Just A Card
The Muse
Don’t Ask Me Why
Salinas
Blackberry Stone
Ghosts
Alas I Cannot Swim
Needle And The Damage Done
My Manic And I
Once
Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
Alpha Shallows
Sophia
Rambling Man
I Speak Because I Can

OVERALL: First of all I wish to congratulate 6 Music for putting on a wonderful spectacle which featured some fantastic artists. I myself had a brilliant evening. The set by Cerys featured an eclectic mix of artists who collaborated with her, Huey Morgan was simply brilliant, Lianne La Havas was magical and someone you need to keep tabs on and finally Laura Marling was spell binding.

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