Classic, folk singer Laura Marling
also joined the Splendour Sideshow circuit, and performed at Sydney's Metro Theatre, Monday night.
I knew she was great, but not this great. To be honest it had been a while since I had listened to her first album 'Alas I Cannot Swim', of which I too really liked tracks such as, *Ghosts' and 'Cross Your Fingers'. But, since this time she has also released album, 'I Speak Because I Can', which definitely is much more textured and stops you right in the middle of many magical moments. Well, they did live anyway.
We arrived just in time for the first support group from Sydney's North Shore, Boy & Bear
. To be honest, I hadn't listened much to them previously, but as an avid lover of Indie-Folk-Rock, you can just imagine these guys were right up my street by the end of their performance.
Frontman, Dave Hosking has a piercingly fantastic voice like Canadian-Australian, Xavier Rudd
. The rest of the group were so controlled and careful with their performance (much like Grizzly Bear!), and all sang in beautiful harmony. Boy & Bear have been busy this year though with gigs, so it is no wonder they sound like the seasoned musicians they are.
Laura Marling followed shortly after with neigh five others, including a cello player, cello bass player, percussionist , ukelele player, keys, who ALL also sang. The keys player from Marling's set, also sang with Boy & Bear which was an interesting display of showmanship and really indicates how well these groups gel. Laura barely had time to blink before she kick-started her set. It was only after this that she began to relax and interact with the audience.
With a charming narrative about how she loves Australia, and feels at home here because she lives in Sheppard's Bush (which is apparently full of Australians), Marling continued on with the show, casually sipping at her wine. This baffled me, because not only now would I say that her vocal capacity is way higher than other female folk favourites of mine, like Sarah Blasko and Missy Higgins but she was drinking a throat parching beverage.
The definite highlight of the show was when she sang solo. She promised epic whistling on her side, and delivered. It was something of a teeth whistling. On the record she had a violinist do the part, but when she thinks of it outside of that, she always whistles it and invited the cheeky Hordern crowd to participate.
Something new for the finish of her gig, she declared an end to the tradition of encores. And hopes her movement will take effect worldwide. With her endearing delivery, I don't think too many people were bothered, but you can't say to a bunch of slightly tipsy Australians 'you can't have this', and not expect some level of larikinism. So she warned us at the end of the third last song, and there was little disappointment with one or two hecklers.
If you want to feel like you were there, buy her album and play it really really loud, that is how it was live and beyond any experience of female soloist singing I have experienced yet. I often felt like I was dreaming through her story telling and vocal loveliness. Bravo to Laura Marling.