By Rami Abou-Sabe
Spring has finally sprung in Boston, and with it comes Laura Marling‘s delicate vocals and reserved brand of acoustic folk. The U.K. musician managed to sell out the Paradise Rock Club, filling the 1,000-person venue to capacity on a Tuesday night (May 16).
Touring in support of 2017 release Semper Femina, Marling and her band kicked off the set with a near reflection of the album tracklist, playing the first five songs in succession. The only changeup; swapping the popular single “Wild Fire” into the second slot.
Marling is a capable guitar player, often stepping away from the microphone to dig into a riff with a tilted head and closed eyes. Reserved but never meek, the folk musician’s style is rhythmic and direct as she relies on novel finger-picking patterns to flesh out a simple sound.
At her best in a breathy soprano, Marling delightfully eschews the munching-pronunciation that has infected modern vocalists. Her runs are crystalline and clear, with enough power to fill the room and cause a number of bearded 20-somethings to shake their head in disbelief.
Donned in a light red floral gown with paper-white shoulder-length hair, Marling maintained full control of the packed venue. At one point, she looked around the room and chided onlookers stuck in the corner of the balcony. “You should have gotten here earlier,” Marling joked about the side-stage view.
Over the course of the hour-and-a-half set, the crowd remained pin-drop quiet. Even typical post-song conversations between friends were conducted in a hushed whisper as if to not disturb the magic coming from the stage. “She’s such a rockstar,” commented one local.
Talented? Yes. But a rockstar? After last night, I’m actually inclined to agree.
Marling and her band continue their tour with a stop at Philadelphia’s Theatre of the Living Arts Friday, May 19.