Live review: Laura Marling @ O2 ABC

By Sara Paciaroni

Folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling returns to Glasgow after her recent breath-taking performance at Celtic Connections. Marling filled the sold out O2 ABC with slinky notes from her sixth album Semper Femina, which, she reminds the enthusiastic audience, was released that same morning.

Endless times compared to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, Marling’s sound has come far from her teenage years’ melancholic tracks. Now at 27, with five albums and ten years of experience in the music industry behind her, she has settled in her own personal and peculiar style.

Everything from the flowery set up, to her ethereal dress and elegant stage presence screams “Laura Marling”. Evidence of a newly-found confidence, after what the musician herself refers to as a “quarter-life crisis”, she has set up her own label, More Alarming Records, and directed a music video trilogy for her upcoming album.

She began her set with the first single from Semper Femina, Soothing, which, like the name suggests, soothed us into the complete collection of tracks from the new album. Both an interesting and dangerous choice, which could’ve upset the sing-along fanatics. In this case, it turned out to be the most appropriate, since the audience had the chance to listen to the whole album first-hand from the artist herself.

The most faithful fans were familiar with some of the songs already released, such as Next Time and Wild Fire, however, the venue remained silent for the duration of the show.

Marling did not disappoint the long-time fans, performing tracks from her previous albums, like the melancholic What He Wrote, the cheerful folk of Darkness Descends and I Speak Because I Can from the homonyms album.

Curiously, Marling did not include any songs from her debut album Alas I Cannot Swim or her fifth Short Movie, instead choosing to play another folk ballad, Sophia from A Creature I Don’t Know and the bluesy gloomy tune Once, from Once I Was an Eagle.

She concluded her set with one of her most famous songs, the thunderous Rambling Man, the perfect choice to end a crescendo of emotions.

Overall, her concert was almost a mystical experience, for she brought us into her magical world of fictional heroines and mellow notes, creating a warm and emotional atmosphere.

Marling is not the shy 18-year-old of Ghosts and Failure anymore; throughout her career she has matured into a capable guitarist and exceptional singer and songwriter, who delivers her performance with naturalness and technical skills beyond her age. This, coupled with her poised attitude and concentration with which she performs every song makes for an utterly bewitching experience.