Laura Marling, O2 Academy Leeds 8/3/17

When I last saw Laura Marling live we were all a bit less grown up. I didn’t have a proper job so when my girlfriend at the time (now wife – that was kind of funny when I thought it) told me she had tickets to the afternoon gig in Sheffield Cathedral one Saturday it was perfect. Except that, aside from uni and my shifts volunteering at a charity shop, my only can’t-be-altered commitment was working which I did on a Sunday. Oh and a Saturday. So yes, confession, 21 year old me pulled a sickie. I was so convincing that I had to take the Sunday off too. 

Back then the intimate gig with Laura – singer of New Romantic- had only 6 of her 8 records (her upcoming album is the sixth and there have been a couple of EPs) out and there was no set list and a couple of mistakes in words and key changes. It was endearing that she lacked some pazaz. This time- the first show of the tour-there was a band, beautiful and fitting staging and instead of the meek mutterings with a bowed head Laura interacted with her fans confidently. 

There was a lot of comings and goings in the crowd-the audience did feel fidgety- but I’m putting that down to the availability of 2 pint cups… Sure you go to the bar half as much but you need the toilet twice as much! Because when she played and sang it was captivating-I wonder the whole UK tour is a sellout even though tickets were on sale a long while before there was even the sniff of a preview of any of the 2017 album Semper Femina tracks. 

The album, written while touring the 2015 one, began as if Laura was writing as a man-about women-then, she admitted in late 2016 interviews, realising it was her empathising with women and herself. The new songs are stunningly crafted and seem to be a nod to Laura’s folk roots after a change of pace with Short Movies. 

She played songs from her upcoming album which is going to be spectacular (you heard it here first, okay) as well as some old favourites including 3 songs with women as the titles because, as Laura exclaimed, it was ‘Women’s Day!’ 

The voice escaping the mouth of the blonde woman onstage will always, it seems, floor me. She’s something different and I can’t wait to listen to the album incessantly. It’s out today (10 March). 

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