Monday, July 09, 2012

Marina & the Diamonds, Tabernacle, Notting Hill - June 26

Marina and the Diamonds was rearranged from May due to Marina's voice going, Tabernacle, Notting Hill
Mr took Tim to this one, on account of Mrs not being a big fan.  Had an early start, so despite our best efforts and getting a taxi from Notting Hill tube to the venue, we missed the first song. Tim was of course, buying a double round of strong lager. It was incredibly hot inside the tiny church. Allegedly holds 500 people, but there can't have been more than 350 and it was packed.
The stage was made out as a living room with the now standard (haha) standard lamp that every female singer worth their salt seems to have these days – Adele had em, Paloma Faith had em and now Marina has them, alongside her old style TV and chaise longue.  Fair play, she had made an effort.  A great voice, she sang a mix of songs from both her albums, including "I am not a robot" and recent hit Primadona. With a couple of costume changes and masquerading as her Ziggy style Electra Heart alter ego, she made a real effort and it was a mighty fine show.  Although as Mr was with Tim, alcohol played a part.
The gig having started at 8.30, was all over by 9.45, and it being a small venue, a queue soon began to form of very keen fans hoping to get a photo and an autograph of Marina.  As there was still lager to be drunk, they stayed and chatted with mad German lady who had come over for 3 gigs in 5 days, overheard a chap who was boasting at having set aside £450 for this gig, no matter what and was trying to buy a girl a t shirt to get signed, with the promise that "I won't try and touch you up or anything".  Anyway, the band passed by, the bouncers started looming and a big fella ushered us all into single file before threatening to eject anyone who yelped or shouted. At this, mr £450 man yelped and was promptly evicted. With his £450. Marina came out and wafted down the line. Tim and Mt both got her autograph on their tickets and a couple of fuzzy photos of Mr looming above everyone.  After that, they finished their lager and off they went.
Overall rating 8/10, but 2/10 for the bouncers.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Laura Marling, Royal Albert Hall - July 7

Ah, the Royal Albert Hall! If you live in the UK you've seen it a lot on telly, particularly for the Proms. It looks huge, but in person it's a more intimate venue you would've thought. Laura Marling, a plucky British guitarist, quite sensibly put herself and her band right in the centre of the venue, below those funny mushroom things they've stuck on the ceiling to sort the acoustics out. She didn't sell it out but it didn't matter in the end.

She had no support act and did her show in two parts, with an intermission for Mr to go off and get me a rather cool concert t-shirt that had the date and a really artsy drawing of the venue. Plus a poster for himself. Now, Jack White did the same thing with his show at the Apollo last week, and I have to say it's no bad thing. She did get through 21 songs and it gave us all an opportunity to swivel out of our chairs (the RAH has swivel chairs, how posh!) and go visit concessions. Mr thought the hall was under-resourced in the area of male toilets, which is an unusual complaint. The ladies were good.

Her banter for the first half was a bit awful but the songs largely made up for it, and her early nerves settled down as the night progressed. All the shouting from the audience was largely appreciative - we love you, marry me... Her band is very well coordinated after two years of touring, and seemed to require less tuning than she did with her acoustic guitar. Their silly facts about the RAH were a highlight of the second half. I liked the model of the Royal Albert Hall the cellist and pianist worked on together. Appeared to be partly made out of toilet rolls.

She says she's going to take a break for awhile, but this will give us all an opportunity to listen to her back catalogue. It's quite an excellent way to end a tour. The Royal Albert Hall. Laura Marling said she was terrified when she got on stage, but by the end of the night she and the venue were a perfect fit.