Laura Marling, Marika Hackman
St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney
22 July 2013
Exchanging between semi-acoustic and electric guitar, Marika Hackman’s delicate melodies were accommodated beautifully by St Stephen’s Uniting Church. Standing in front of a dramatic backdrop lit by pastel shades, new song ‘Cinnamon’ was a set highlight with the complementing addition of the church organ. Mostly preforming from her debut album That Iron Taste, the last note of ‘Here I Lie’ lingered long after she had moved away from the microphone.
Accompanied by Ruth de Turberville on cello, Laura Marling kindly acknowledged her Sydney audience as she walked onstage. Straight into the first five songs of her touring album, Once I Was An Eagle, each song seamlessly flowed into the next as one piece of music. Completing the epic with the final installment, ‘Breathe’, the audience was reminded to do so.
As the second of three performances at St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Marling admitted to nearly dropping the “F-bomb” during ‘Master Hunter’ in the house of God the night before. Blaming the near slip on jetlag, Marling was quickly carried away mid-song, as she broke into a wide smile to avoid blasphemy.
Proudly announcing that this tour was without crew or a band, Marling joked that this also meant that 25% of her performance was now tuning. Apologizing that her banter had not improved over the years, Tuesday’s audience now know all the finer details about what tuning her new album will be in as she prepared for ‘David’. If this was glimpse of what to expect next, keep your hopes high. Returning to A Creature I Don’t Know, the venue gifted the long drifting notes of ‘Sophia’ with choir-like qualities during breathtaking moments.
An attempt of covering Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Kathy’s Song’, although beautiful, was short-lived. By the end of verse two, the cover had been interrupted with, “God damn, I can never remember any of the words” and finished abruptly with “That’s pretty much all I remember”.
Calling Turberville back to the stage for ‘Rambling Man’, all was forgiven as her own lyrics rang true: “Let is always be known that I was who I am”. Onstage, Marling is nothing but herself between songs. It is during her songs that Marling becomes an ageless character of experience. Opening up a conversation with her audience though her songwriting, each song brought out elements that were hidden by the limitations of recording.
Winding down to ‘What He Wrote’, Marling confessed to accidentally stinging her guitar with electric guitar stings. An honest mistake, and a moment made you realize that Marling is a 23-year-old woman who is travelling the world with as many guitars that she can carry.
‘Little Bird’ was followed by an explanation of Marling’s encore policy. Reasoning with her audience, Marling advised on her last songs.
As the final track of her latest album, ‘Saved these Words’ closed the set with lyrics fitting of a Tuesday performance, “When your work is over/ Your day is done/ Put down your hammer/ Into my world come”.This performance was stripped down to what Laura Marling is about, the art of storytelling.
Originally published on themusicnetwork.com