Laura Marling at Union Chapel online
In a time where everything feels a little hopeless, a live set from the ethereal Laura Marling provides a much-needed chink of light. Marling’s voice, set to the backdrop of the majestic Union Chapel, makes for hypnotic viewing.
Debuting her seventh studio album to an (almost) live audience, Marling appears serene, the shyness of the early 2000s replaced by a quiet confidence. Far from the ad hoc, pulled-together “gigs” that have emerged from this period, the Union Chapel gig felt smooth and effortless. Starting on the dot at 8pm, more promptly than most “live” gigs, Marling came on to a suite of songs from 2012’s Once I Was an Eagle, stepping out onto the expertly lit stage. Directed by Giorgi Testi, the gig was somewhere between watching the screens at a live gig and watching a film. The camera panned round Marling as she moved seamlessly from Once I Was an Eagle, to choice songs from previous albums and then into this year’s release Songs for My Daughter. Highlights included old favourite Tap at My Window and the new Fortune and Alexandra.
Perfect lighting, a fantastic venue and slick camerawork elevated Marling’s already celestial presence, but the stripped-back nature of the performance allowed us to see Marling as she is. Commanding the stage with just her guitar, Marling’s raw talent shone. With no gimmicks or crowd to “perform” to, the purity of her voice and accomplished guitar playing rang through the silence of the chapel. The set-up almost felt like it was made for her. Her folksy guitar and powerful yet lilting voice were complemented by the vast silence around her.
As the first artist to stage a “normal” gig during this period, Marling’s mesmerising folk was the perfect antidote to a Saturday night spent vegging out in front of Netflix. Her impeccable vocals and natural musicality were fantastically complimented by subtle and slick direction. Somewhere between a gig and a film, the Union Chapel set managed to be both engaging and impressive, but one can’t help but feel this style won’t be so kind to others.
Image: Sonic PR
Listen to Fortune here: