Posted: 05 Oct 2013
The Sage Gateshead
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
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.