Perhaps the best indication of a good gig is when you come out of it afterwards liking the artist even more than you did two hours previous. I left the O2 Academy after around 90 minutes in the company of Laura Marling completely in love and adoration.
Despite still being a relatively young woman – she has only just turned 25 – Laura Marling’s music carries the heavy emotional burden of a more mature songwriter. She still has a delicate shyness on stage, an uneasyness almost, and rarely interacts with the audience, but all of that belies the toughness in her songs.
She meanders onto stage with little fanfare. There’s no dimming of the lights and a growing swell of anticipation to indicate an incoming rock star, rather she just appears, cast in a heavenly beam of white light. Over the course of opener Howl she is joined on stage by the remainder of her three-piece band and we are taken into a seamless twenty minute run through Once I Was An Eagle: Take The Night Off, You Know and an intensely passionate Breathe all featuring. It was a breathless opening.
For all the sweetness and elegance in her voice, the whispering and sneering in the same breathe and the cool as fuck vocal infections there’s a harder edge to Laura Marling with Short Movie. The electric guitar is plugged in for I Feel Your Love and the shoes are kicked off as new dimensions to her musical repetoire are unravelled before us. Rambling Man and Master Hunter were given a big band makeover, though the delicacy of Marling’s guitar was never lost in the fuzz. Short Movie closed the set in an electrical thunderstorm and it seemed fitting that way. It was almost as though the vulnerability of her younger self and relationships was being blown away.