Crowd at the Tabernacle: “YEAH!”
Lone voice from said crowd: “Are you?”
Marina Lambrini Diamandis: “Yeah.” [slight pause] “Yeah I am, actually.”
It was a bit of a moment, if we’re honest. She sounded surprised. Pleasantly surprised, even. Funny that, because so were we. As far as we were concerned she had to make up for the last gig we’d seen her play. It was in a church in Hackney, it was for the wonderful Mencap charity, but it was, frankly, a shambles. We assume it was probably one of the first concerts she played with a new band, but boy, did it show. We left halfway, and trust us: we never do that.
The Mencap gig took place shortly after an interview with Popjustice which was so baffling that even those boffins who cracked the Enigma Code back in the day would have thrown in the towel. And to top it all, ace new tune, “Radioactive”, sort of flopped and no one seemed to know what was happening.
But lo and behold: it all worked out in the end. The single, “Primadonna”, nearly cracked the top ten and her second album, “Electra Heart”, went to number 1. She also stopped banging on about her four archetypes and the endlessly confusing story arc of her album, but settled on a more palatable summary: they were just songs about love. Right? right.
All of this meant that, for us at least, last night’s homecoming gig felt very much like the arrival of Marina Diamandis, Fully Fledged Pop Star. We saw a confident girl leading a confident band through a confident array of songs from her ace two albums, with a lovely set full of American props. Halfway through the show a girl came up to us frantically fingering her phone and complaining it wouldn’t take pictures. “I’ve come all the way from California for this gig and now I can’t take pictures.” After which she scuttled off to the bar for a beer. Marina would have loved it: she’s obsessed with the mess that’s America, after all. And we’re obsessed with Marina all over again.
With a strong and almost-flawless vocal performance, we were treated to ‘classics’ (can you have classics after only two albums? sure!) such as “I Am Not a Robot”, “Oh No!” and “Obsessions”, alongside current Electra Heart tracks such as new single, “Power & Control” (brilliant), “Starring Role” (which, despite rhyming ‘role’ with – *ahem* – ‘role’, sounded fantastic) and album closer, “Fear & Loathing”, which sounded great.
Whilst the Tabernacle was sweatier than a Turkish bath, Marina’s show was good enough to make us forget that we were on the brink of melting.
It’s a ‘well done, lass!’, from us.
By Dennis Keesmaat