Show Review: Marina & the Diamonds with Young the Giant at The Independent, 9/15/10

by Marie Carney on September 17, 2010

Marina, working outfit #2 for her "Diamonds"

The sold out crowd at The Independent was radiating energy at the Marina & the Diamonds show.  It packed full of people pretty early, with the stage crush beginning during openers Young the Giant’s set. During sets the crowd bounced and cheered and in-between everyone waited politely, leaving room for friends off buying drinks.  We were ready for an excellent night of music.

Young the Giant is a great straight up rock band, like a cross between Kings of Leon and early Killers.  Some might think that’s an insult, but I think it means they know how to write a quality rock song.  In a lot of ways people want music that is recognizable, catchy and not overly complex.  Our brains are wired to seek out the soothing feeling of knowing what comes next and in music this is a straightforward rock n roll chord progression and ending on the one.  After listening to their self-titled album a few times it was nice that I already recognized most of their set.  But the best part was that along with the pleasurable music came a dynamic performance. 

Live, Young the Giant brings out the aggression a little more than on the album, making the music edgier than it would be otherwise.  Watching the band was enthralling as all the members jumped, ran and basically spazzed around the crowded stage.  It was quite a display and a perfect warm up.  The audience loved it, screaming and cheering between songs and being respectfully silent during songs.  From the talk after their set I’m sure they won some fans.

It felt like a long time waiting, but when Marina Diamandis, who is Marina & the Diamonds, took the stage it was well worth the wait.  As always she looked equal parts adorable and sexy wearing a victorian-esque black outfit, sunglasses and her usual towering heels.  She opened with the dramatic song “The Outsider” holding everyone’s full attention.  Her stage presence is phenomenal to the point where, even when she’s being awkward and nervous, every person is paying rapt attention, watching only her.

Of course, what everyone is really there for is her voice.  Or maybe I should say that’s why I’m there?  This was the second to last show of her North American tour and there wasn’t an off note all night.  Her vocal acrobatics were probably stronger than any other time I’ve seen her.  Maybe she has some miracle vocals chords where belting it out every night actually makes them stronger (or more likely she has good vocal techniques).  Her voice was clear and strong all night.

If you weren’t there for her voice you were probably there for her outfits and strong personality.  Marina talked a lot in between songs giving many insights into her world.  My favourite was after an extra long and loud cheer she just smiled out at us and said we were her friends and that maybe, when she imagined “the Diamonds” part of Marina and the Diamonds it was because she didn’t have any friends.  And now here we all were, her friends.  It was very bittersweet.

Of course she looked stunning throughout the whole performance, even covered in sweat.  Her outfits were fun and a fan on the stage kept her hair blowing around like we were watching an 80’s rock video, not at a show in a small club.  The performance bordered on spectacle at times, but the solid songwriting, even more solid band and Marina’s amazing voice held everything together.  It was an evening of good music and great showmanship and I’m glad so many people packed into The Independent to see it.

Setlist

The Outsider
Girls
Seventeen
I Am Not a Robot
Oh No!
Numb (solo piano)
Obsessions
Rootless
Hollywood
Shampain
Are You Satisfied?
Guilty

Encore:

Mowgli’s Road

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