Live Review: Laura Marling

13 June 2017 | 7:04 pm | Ben Nicol

"Her complete control of both the microphone and guitar left no room for error."

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Gracing the Sydney Opera House's Concert Hall as one of Vivid Festival's highly praised international acts, Laura Marling oozed perfection. The British folk singer-songwriter rounded out her Australian tour in a stylish black suit and a stellar performance. Her complete control of both the microphone and guitar left no room for error.

The green flora spread across the stage presented a distinctly British atmosphere and, although this could have been indicative of a playful nature, Marling focused almost exclusively on her performance. When playing alongside her five-piece band, she temporarily shed her folk singer-songwriter archetype and took on the role of band leader, bringing hints of country-rock style bravado to the mix during tracks Wild Fire and Nothing, Not Really.

Performing solo, Marling maintained the melancholy within her older track What He Wrote while the sentimental Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) was conveyed through her nostalgic, story-telling method of singing. Daisy, complete with two backing vocalists providing angelic harmonies, saw Marling finally get to show off her incredible dexterity on the guitar.

Towards the end of her set, Marling matter-of-factly announced that she and her band would now play a fact guessing game - a staple of their recent live shows together. Each band member told Marling a personal story about themselves and then it was up to her to guess which one of them was lying. It acted as a nice breather that broke up the seriousness of the evening and provided everyone, Marling included, with an opportunity to have a laugh and observe the comfortable chemistry these bandmates share. 

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Closing with Rambling Man allowed Marling to end with an emphatic declaration: "Let it always be known that I was who I am." From there, she waved goodbye to her audience (having already politely explained there would be no encore), embraced her bandmates, and headed off stage. After almost a decade of doing the touring circuit, it's clear that this impeccable standard of bashful perfection has been hard-earned and reverently maintained.