Laura Marling, the frighteningly talented young folk artist from Hampshire, recently announced her UK Club Tour, playing a handful of intimate gigs across the country. I was lucky enough to attend Marling’s first of these intimate gigs at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge: a small market town, just a fifty minute train journey from Leeds.
Marling began electric accompanied by three backing instrumentalists on bass, guitar and percussion. This new sound, though broader, was played with the same ease and class that Marling has always possessed. She accompanied tracks from her new album Short Movies, due to be released on 23rd March, with some old time favourites including: ‘I speak because I can’, ‘What He Wrote’ and ‘Master Hunter’. Candid as always, Marling joked, “I used to go to a lot of gigs and would get annoyed if the artist played too many new songs.”
The audience, as one might expect, was made up of a large range of people: the middle-aged, the young, the bearded, the baby-faced. The diverse range of Marling’s faithful followers illustrates her presence and authority that she has over a crowd however much she tries to shy away from fame. Her distinct and powerful voice, her master guitar-playing and her singular approach render her blending in impossible. An obscurely tuned catalogue of guitars joined the fray. Marling has an understanding of her instrument, playing it like she is greeting an old friend and singing as if she is someone who has experienced the wonders of the world, rare for a 24 year-old. But then few 24 year-olds have 4 albums under their belt, several Mercury Award nominations and a Brit award.
Of all the gigs I have ever been to, Marling is the only artist to achieve a silent and respectful reception. She doesn’t need to talk to the crowd, her music speaks for her.
photo: Gerald Deo, 2kmusic.com