"The stripped-back simplicity of her music secretly draws you in and is overwhelming in how subtle it is."
Walking down the street towards The Gov, we're immediately hit with the faintly clashing echoes of sounds coming from both the front bar and the main venue, where Oliver Hugh Perry aka DD Dumbo's big sound is emanating from already. Entering the venue, we're slapped with his wall of experimental blues-pop sound. We strategically position ourselves so he seems to be surrounded by a misty orange aura on stage, perhaps a visual sign to expect a transcendent dreamscape. DD Dumbo delivers a sound that's been worthy of the Splendour In The Grass stage, which is at times a little too big for this venue, but still enjoyable.
The usual Saturday night pub chatter whirs on as audience members closer to the '18' than the '+' category inch their way closer to the stage. Laura Marling enters like a breath of fresh air, her band members donning a double bass — swoon — and a simple drum kit on the far side of the stage. An eerie hush settles over the crowd like a thick blanket, a warm cloud covering. It opens up and showers us with an epic ten-minute opening journey of Take The Night Off/I Was An Eagle/You Know. She's the kind of artist you don't just , you feel her. The stripped-back simplicity of her music secretly draws you in and is overwhelming in how subtle it is. The audience is pulled reluctantly from its stupor. "My name's Laura. It's nice to be back."
Her voice sits perfectly on top of the band that backs her, a recent change in her live sound that works in her favour. Her hand flies effortlessly along her guitar as if the chord progressions run through her bloodstream, transitioning into more upbeat tracks like Master Hunter. The room is still and silent, even as Marling playfully insists on shushing the audience before dreamily lulling us into Night After Night. Her storytelling seems to drag us through a winter forest of sounds to the spring meadow of Ghosts.
Refreshingly self-aware as an artist, Laura Marling is the kind of softly powerful being who seems like she's from a fairy tale. Her music is a dream.
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