“Hanging With The Unloved Kids” – Marina And The Diamonds-Live, Liverpool Masque-25/05/2010

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Marina And The Diamonds-Liverpool

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“A bit different from the last show here?” beams Marina outside her tour bus, basking in the afterglow of a triumphant gig at Liverpool’s Masque Theatre.  Marina and I had previously agreed that her visit to the ‘Pool in December 2009 definitely had something of a weird vibe, the venue seemingly full of industry types as opposed to genuine fans (aside from the hardcore ‘Diamonds’) . No such worries this evening though, because as is with most of the shows on “The Family Jewels” tour, tonight is a sell out, it seems Liverpool has finally been seduced and bedazzled by all things Diamond.

Marina And The Diamonds Live Liverpool, Von Pip

From the moment the Bond-esque video montage intro illuminates the stage backdrop you sense Marina’s upped her game and is preparing to take things to a whole new level. She was quoted recently as saying she doesn’t take her image too seriously, that it’s playful and ‘cartoonised’, and as if to prove that very point she arrives on stage resplendent in a silk printed smock featuring Bambi and Thumper! Since its release, her début album ‘The Family Jewels’ has sold over 100,000 copies in the UK , yet she still seems to divide opinion.   For some people her perceived faux-quirkiness is cited as off putting, in fact one critic went so far as to write  “you get the impression that ­Diamandis couldn’t tell you where the nearest cash point is without crossing her eyes, blowing a raspberry and doing quote marks with her fingers every other word.” As amusing as this image is, it’s a rather unfair view and one that certainly doesn’t represent the reality of Marina as a live entity. Yeah, yeah , she sings a high pitched “cuckoo” on one song and has a penchant for ironic knitwear shaped like sheep, but she hardly bounds  on stage astride a pogo stick, wearing comedy antlers  roaring, “Oi, I’m fucking mental me!!”

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=tnbGXxCFsHQ&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=tnbGXxCFsHQ&amp;feature</a>

The truth is Marina employs less artifice in her live shows than many of her flashy and dare I say gimmicky, electro pop contemporaries.  There is no faux mysticism here, no scented candles, new age wankery or any of the usual bollocks du jour; the focus is primarily on the songs, and Marina’s voice. I will yield to nobody in my view that she posses a wonderful, rich emotive voice, although I will concede that songs such as tonight’s opener ‘Girls’ don’t really do it justice. In many ways it’s the polar opposite of La Roux’s shrill, cold, tinny mewl, yes its unusual, yes it’s different but I suppose if you’ve been lobotomised by utterly plastic, vapid, soulless singers on so called ‘talent shows’ then you may find Marina’s voice a little challenging. Then again if the X-Factor’s your bench mark of quality you’d probably find tying your shoelaces unaided a bit of a challenge.  Strange how critics bemoan a lack of originality, yet when a performer dares to deviate from the narrow parameters of ‘pop’ they get criticised for it? And let us never forget it is so much easier to be critical than to be correct.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=D7EsjD95uTk&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=D7EsjD95uTk&amp;feature</a>

Tonight Marina demonstrates that not only can she put on a fantastic show, but she also has the ability to write the sort of pop songs that would certainly induce Sir Douglas Bader to tap his imaginary toes with unbridled glee.  However these aren’t just fluffy pop songs about falling in love with a duplicitous loser that  elucidate the dispiriting post feminist take on equality , the  tale of  how she’s ain’t gonna take it no more and how she will win him back by  empowering herself by, um, taking up pole dancing and wearing a ‘bad ass’ thong.  Nope there’s more to Marina than that,  and she’s always attempted  to address issues which are close to her heart, loneliness, isolation, consumerism, buying into the pretence of body perfection and the portrayal  of women in the music industry and society in general.  Many of her ideas may still be evolving and some sniffy critics have sniped that she’s no Ani DiFranco, but Jeez give the girl a break, isn’t it refreshing that somebody in the pop genre is trying to actually articulate her own feelings and not simply regurgitating an empty vision of  ‘girl power’ dreamt up by a team of  middle aged- mostly male, song-writers.

Marina And The Diamonds Live Liverpool

Despite her album being laced with pop gems, tonight  it’s the slower numbers that are the real highlights, stripped of their studio polish Marina’s voice soars and is imbued with a melancholic quality that is both  moving and  mesmerising, a voice that combines power yet Marina And Von Pipfragility. If there’s anything that separates this young lady from her contemporaries it’s her singular ability to write affecting piano led ballads of real emotional depth. ‘Obsessions’, Numb’, ‘Rootless’ and one of the best songs in recent years ‘Iam Not A Robot’ all hint at just what the future may hold for Marina as her song writing matures and she continues to develop her ideas and opinions.  The show finishes with the inevitable  shrieks of ‘cuckoo ’ from the audience as  Marina performs a rousing version of ‘Mowglis Road’ and when people reluctantly vacate the venue they leave with smiles as wide as the Mersey plastered on their faces.  Tonight’s show demonstrated that Marina is true a diamond, she’s sparkling brighter than ever and one cannot help but feel there’s so much more to come!

9/10 .

Additional montage photos and  “Girls” video by Ricky Orr

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=7hvX3V3Ed_A&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=7hvX3V3Ed_A&amp;feature</a>

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=TzZtsQPvY60&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=TzZtsQPvY60&amp;feature</a>

Marina And The Diamonds - Bambi

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Andy Von Pip

ANDY VON PIP - Founder, editor, writer, reviewer, photographer and all-round good guy at the VPME.com. House photographer for The Academy Music Group, Zuma Press, Event Magazine and Rex Features worldwide. You can check out his photography at Andy Von Pip Photography Has been new music tipster on BBC6 Music, Amazing Radio, and DJ on Strangeways Radio (USA.) Can currently be heard on IWFM Radio. His radio work has been described as sounding like Ian McCulloch on ketamine fused with Ringo Starr. New music tipster on Amazing Radio, moderator for BBC 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson's Fresh on the Net, former member of "BBC's Sound Of" panel. Written and photographic work has appeared in The Quietus, Music Week, Record Of The Day, The Guardian, GIITV, The Sabotage Times, Bido Lito, The Skinny, Louder Than War. Media partner and curator for Liverpool Sound City.

Discussion

  1. Dave McGovern

    great this as it does sum Marina up. I was at the show and thought she was really great. I hope she keeps coming back to the city cos we love her

  2. shes amazing, wicked review and videos. I cant understand people who diss her voice. You are soooo right people do bitch about thers no originality and then bitch when there is. Shes fantastic live. Xxx

  3. Thanks to this blog I became a ‘Diamond’. Wasnt that interested initially but I finally checked her out and now me and my girlfreind are both MASSIVE fans.

  4. i enjoy your marina articles because you always convey such enthusiasm . I Think thats a bloggers job, no agenda just write with passion about what you love. Marina has been one of the artists that has made me rediscover music again

  5. The Beast With five Fingers

    Oh yes, saw her last week, blo ody marvellous. Thanks for the review its excellent

  6. aaaah man this is great, you’ve done it again-perfect. Wish everybody reviewed her like this. Thanks man

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