Laura Marling

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Laura Marling

Posted: 05 Oct 2013

The Sage Gateshead

29 September

 

Twenty-three-year-old Laura Marling is a bright young thing. Already the winner of a Brit Award for Best Solo Female Artist in 2011 and nominated for the same accolade a year later she has just secured her third Mercury Prize, this time for her latest album, ‘Once I was an Eagle.’

She sells her vulnerability. Just her, two acoustic guitars and a mic on a stage you never realised was so huge until you walked into the auditorium and see it laid as bare as Marling’s increasingly bleak songs.  When one of her guitars lets Laura down a few short minutes into the performance she seems like Little Red Riding Hood alone in the forest.  A Hampshire girl, she seems quintessentially English, as fragile as a rose in a storm but as potentially thorny too. So it proves as she stoically works her way through a shortish set of not much more than an hour. “I’ve not had a good day,” she explains.

A young woman with tender songs sung wistfully accompanied by an acoustic guitar is a classic approach for many a connoisseur of earnest singer-songwriters. Marling is good, there’s no doubt about that. How good she can be is open to question. This was a three-out-of-five performance, but the new album has the material to be better than that.

A word, too, for support act Nick Mulvey who produced sounds from an acoustic guitar that I’d never seen before. An excellent player, he’s back in the North East at Think-Tank in Newcastle in early November.

 

Rob Mason

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