Monday, October 3, 2011

Sounds: Laura Marling at Sixth and I

Last Tuesday night I found myself sitting in the sanctuary of a Jewish synagogue in the middle of Chinatown.  But it wasn’t for a religious service. Technically. It was for music, and music has probably taught more about the goodness of life than years of Sunday School had. And I totally counted it as church attendance, (Pay attention Universe!) and I didn’t even have to pick out cheerios from the carpet.
I have seen bands and musicians play in places that range the spectrum from dive bars to ballparks to fields under the stars , but this was the first time that I have seen a performance of a popular performing artist in a church.  We sat in pews under stained glass windows with lights that lit up the room like candles.  It was a little magical.
What I have noticed among the handful of British bands/artists that I have seen lately is they always apologize for their awkward banter.  There is always that pause in between songs where people feel they need to fill up the space with words. I think that there is also the pressure to make a live show feel different than just listening to the music at home.  You have a roomful of people, people who paid money, staring up at you, what do you say?
If you are Laura Marling you say,  “As you can tell, stage banter is not one of strengths, so I will now entertain you with a series of facts.”

Her stage presence is actually pretty endearingly entertaining.  She did tells facts about her guitars, lines in her songs she finds peculiar, and stories about the interesting people you meet walking down the streets of DC at 2 o’clock in the morning.  Her band told jokes, which is the route that I probably would have gone.  Or talk about pie. But I couldn’t do it an English accent, so it probably won't sound so charming. Her songs are so beautiful and powerful at the same time. Sometimes as a girl I think that I can't have or show strong emotions without being label as one of those girls, or just plain old crazy.  Marling's music reminds me that I can be feminine and still have an important voice, and important stories to tell.

This lovely performance was the last concert of my Rock-tember. I didn’t make it to Les Mis.  I have two,  vastly different musical field trips already planned for October, one in November, and a couple of possibilities for December depending on my holiday plans.  I love the fact that I have gotten back into going to see live music. It's like I have reclaimed a little bit of my soul.
If you want to hear more of Laura, check out her NPR appearance.

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