Laura Marling, Roundhouse: ‘I felt as if I had known her for years’

PUBLISHED: 10:29 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:29 30 March 2017

Laura Marling performing live on stage at The Roundhouse. Picture: Richard Gray

Laura Marling performing live on stage at The Roundhouse. Picture: Richard Gray

EMPICS Entertainment

Laura Marling captivated the crowd with her typical lyrical mastery and soaring vocals

With microphone stands wrapped in flowers and vines, Laura Marling turned Camden Town’s Roundhouse into her garden for the evening.

Opening with the drooping baseline of Soothing, one of the standout tracks from her new album, the superb Semper Femina, she captivated the crowd with her typical lyrical mastery and soaring vocals.

She has an undeniably angelic presence on stage. The powerful and mellow The Valley was a particular highlight – it drifted across the audience, who listened in respectful stillness, as she sang potently “we love beauty ‘cause it needs us to/It needs our brittle glaze”.

Her mesmerising voice created such an aura of self-confidence and resolve it’s difficult to grasp how delicate her interactions were with the crowd. “Well done for listening to six new songs, I’d be bored”, she said with a humble grin.

Contrary to her admission, the audience were never uninterested and neither, it seemed, was she. Launching her head backward and staring upward toward the ceiling during Not Once Not Nearly, you could sense Laura Marling is an artist who believes in her music and writes songs that make her feel comfortable enough to expose her neck to a few thousand strangers during an instrumental.

Masterful songwriters like her let you in, they make you feel an insider to their bubble, and you leave feeling as if you somehow know them. After just ninety minutes of music I felt as if I had known her for years and had been willingly dragged alongside her through the myriad of ups and downs commonly experienced by a good friend in their mid-twenties.

So it’s no surprise that the chatter amongst attendees, when discussing her before and after the gig, did not refer to Laura Marling, but simply “Laura”. And it’s easy to understand why. Her performance, while feeling entirely personal to her, still somehow felt personal to everyone at the venue.

Even whilst closing with Rambling Man, Laura’s anthemic tour de force from her second album, I noticed something truly telling. There were almost zero audience members holding a smart phone in front of them. In some ways that is the purest endorsement a modern live performer can ask for: total captivation.

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