Who: Laura Marling
Where: 99 Sudbury, Toronto
When: Wednesday 25 May, 2013
In One Word™: Letdown
English folk singer Laura Marling made a stop in Toronto on a small promotional tour of her upcoming album release Once I Was an Eagle. The young twenty-something artist has been compared to such Canadian icons as Joni Mitchell – which I get only when you compare their guitar playing technique – alternate tunings to accommodate open chords; other than that, I don’t see it. Joni Mitchell’s melody lines and lyrics are far more listener friendly.
Don’t misunderstand me – Laura Marling has guitar playing chops. So much so, that regular, standard tunings seem to bore her, so from song to song, she’s fiddling about with her guitar. Tuning her guitar between songs isn’t too much of a distraction, especially since it forces her to try to connect with her audience. With the intimate size of the venue, making a connection with her audience should be her priority. It’s unfortunate that she seems to lack the experience and / or comfort level to engage them – after all, they are her fans, they buy her music and as she herself, told us, “provide her livelihood.” She did recount a couple of stories which were well received, but with so many breaks in between songs, she certainly has to build up a bigger repertoire.
The venue, “The Gallery” located within 99 Sudbury, was pretty horrible. It was just a box with concrete floors (which allowed falling beer bottles to resonate throughout the venue while Ms. Marling was performing) and so-so acoustics. All of the above contributed to a so-so performance with a few vocal stumbles and a duration of less than an hour. For the price of the ticket, I expected a decent amount of time for her set, as well as a decent venue.
© Dee Dee Duric, Music Vice