Sunday, 4 March 2012

Laura Marling plays Birmingham's Symphony Hall

The last time I went to a proper rock concert was years ago, when I saw Elton John take the Winter Gardens at Bournemouth by storm.

The audience was noisy but respectful, especially when he launched into mega-hits like Crocodile Rock and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

But if Laura Marling’s concert at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Friday night was anything to go by, today’s concert-goers are a far trickier proposition. It was the second day of her UK tour and not surprisingly, the gig was a sell-out. The singer has a voice that sends shivers down your spine and deservedly won the Brit award for best female solo artist in 2011. I saw her perform at Birmingham Cathedral in the autumn and she was mesmerising. This concert was different though – part of a fully-blown, countrywide tour, with supporting acts and a backing band.

Considering we’d all paid £25 a ticket to hear her sing, I couldn’t believe how annoying some some of the audience were. Scores of people trotted out to the loo midway through songs, clip-clopping down the aisle in noisy shoes. One ill-mannered man near the front kept bellowing “talk to us” in between songs (Marling doesn’t do the usual sort of chat), girls kept whooping (“you’ll have sore throats in the morning,” warned the singer) and at one bizarre point a dog barked.

But Marling and her band, professional to the core, kept their cool and kept belting out the music. Once I’d managed to ignore the infuriating people, I sat back and enjoyed songs like the haunting Goodbye England (Covered in Snow), Sophia and a new number called I am the Master Hunter.

The whole experience made me admire the 22-year-old singer even more. It struck me, too, that if actors had to contend with the yelling, mobile phones, dogs, whoops and rudeness, they’d storm offstage in a trice. The self-possessed Laura Marling, however, soldiered impressively on and turned out a sterling performance. If you get the chance, go and see her in concert. It’s a treat.


  1. They sound a ghastly audience.

    My pet peev is people who take picnics with them to the cinema, and pass sandwiches among themeselves which they then proceed to eat noisily.

    Theatre audiences tend to be better. It's far less rare these days to hear the rustle of a box of chocolates behind you as you try to hear the action on the stage.

    Liz X

    1. Quite agree, Liz. Noisy sandwiches and sweets are so annoying. But theatre-goers are much better behaved than concert-goers if Friday night was anything to go by!

  2. Emma! I have been listening to her (Laura that is) all weekend (thank you YouTube) - she is fantastic. She is so young! What talent. Beautiful...all of it. What a shame some of the beauty was disrupted for you during the concert - I'm glad you were able to eventualy tune it out and enjoy the performance.

    1. I'm so glad to hear that you think Laura Marling is brilliant too. And even though the noisy people in the audience were annoying, they couldn't really spoil it for me. You should definitely hear her live. I've heard her twice in the last few months and she is an amazing talent.

  3. I would firstly like to say whooping is a form of showing LOVE to a singer. Secondly the whooping girls were 13 and 14, what do you expect? Thirdly it's disrespectful to call them annoying for showing their love for Laura Marling, and lastly, that the 13 year old girl was me.

  4. As one of the whooping girls, I'd like you to say how offended and outraged I am to be called annoying for simply showing my appreciation for Laura's music. You may be a stuck up arse who only enjoys concerts where everyone sits and acts all posh and only claps, BUT WE AREN'T. It is NORMAL to whoop at concerts (if you're not a pompous ass that is). Laura CLEARLY wasn't annoyed so why the hell should you be? We weren't even whooping during songs or her talking. We literally only whooped AFTER songs and that ANNOYED you? Sheesh.


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