Show Review: Marina & The Diamonds with MS MR at The Fillmore, 7/11/12

by Dakin Hardwick on July 16, 2012

All photos by the legendary Paige Parsons

Marina & The Diamonds were supposed to play The Fillmore a year and a half ago. She canceled the show in order to record her new record. I had purchased tickets, and I will admit to being a little bummed about this at the time. But, alas, I let it go. The wait seemed to be a good thing for her, because when she finally rebooked, the show sold out rather quickly. I guess it’s the whole story of “If you love something, set it free, and if it comes back, it’s yours forever.” Because this crowd defintely seemed more in love with Marina than they would have a year and a half ago.

MS & MR. At least, I think that’s both of them.

We were treated to a far-too-brief opening set by NYC’s MS MR. Much like many bands from Gotham, these folks seem to already seem to be getting a fair amount of buzz, despite only having one single out on the market. After seeing the live set, however, I understand why. The music that they do can only described as hard soultronica. The drummer is one of the most intense players I’ve seen outside of heavy metal. (The members of MS MR seem to be entirely anonymous. I couldn’t find the names of any members anywhere on the web.) The singer has an amazing, very soulful voice. She is also has one of the single most charismatic faces I’ve ever seen. She barely moved on stage, mostly because they were forced to set up in front or Marina & The Diamonds massive stage, but her highly expressive face covered every emotion known to human kind.

Even more impressive was how quickly the Marina fans tuned into them. Within 3 songs, every single person in the already packed room was dancing. I genuinely can’t wait for these folks to come back to town and play their own show with full use of a stage.

I thought that the place was packed for MS MR. I was wrong. The venue kept getting more densely packed during the time between support and headliner. Although Marina & The Diamonds have made several visits to San Francisco, this is her first all ages show, so the young ones were definitely out in full force. There were plenty of high school age girls with heart shaped beauty marks painted on their faces. It made for a very different energy than her last visit, which was a 21+ venue, and the crowd being mostly male. It improved the energy of the show greatly.

The staging of the show was quite impressive. In addition to the full band, we had a couch, a coat rack, a stuffed dog, and a martini glass (only water) filling the stage, with still ample room for bandleader Marina Diamandis to strut around. She came out wearing a lace mini skirt, lace crop top and a wedding vail, and opened with “Homewrecker,” a track of her latest record, Electra Heart. Her voice was in pitch perfect condition at this show. She manages to pull off the Kate Bush sound that is equal parts quiver and howl, but really turns it into her own. She perfectly embodied the song’s character, an unrepentant adulterer, with cocky finesse. She removed the veil, threw on heart-shaped shades, and sang the subtle jab at the music industry “Oh No!” from her debut The Family Jewels. She, of course, kept this swagger up throughout the entire set.

The set focused, as expected, on songs from her recently released Electra Heart. The show was a mere two days after the record’s US release, but the majority of the crowd was already quite familiar with the material. People danced and sang along to nearly every song, and, although it took “I Am Not A Robot” for the crowd to really explode, it kept that energy up for the full 90 minutes of the set.

Some highlights included her donning a sash that said “Miss Bubble Gum Beach” for “Bubblegum Bitch,” a guitar driven, new wave rocker that caused the crowd to break into a frantic pogo, which was paired with “Starring Role,” which was rearranged as an epic power ballad.

The main set closed with a set of crowd favorites “Shampain” & “Radioactive.” The dancey energy reached an apex with these tracks, and when she returned for her encore, she pulled a 180 with the crowd, and sat at the electric piano for a beautiful rendition of the dark track “Teen Idle.” Still full of energy, but the energy was all pure emotion. Not to allow us to leave on a sad note, she closed the whole show with “Hollywood,” literally throwing herself into the crowd for this grand closing number.

Diamandis is, by far, one of the strongest stage performers currently touring today. She managed to play the relatively intimate Fillmore as if it were a full fledged, arena sized pop show. There were costume changes galore, and you could tell that she was putting her all into every moment of the set, however, you never once saw her break a sweat. It’s also frightening how beautiful this woman is. It’s unfair that anybody gets to be both that talented and attractive.

Setlist

Homewrecker
Oh No!
Mowgli’s Road
Lies
I Am Not A Robot
State Of Dreaming
Power And Control
Bubblegum Bitch
Starring Role
Obsessions
Hypocrates
Primadonna
Heartbreaker
Shampain
Radioactive

Teen Idle
Fear and Loathing
Hollywood

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ehowders September 17, 2012 at 3:20 am

They both need to come to Asheville! I just listened to MS MR for the first time and I’m addicted…let’s just say I aready got their new RP…and it’s only on pre=order:) Is anyone else as obsessed as I am right now?
http://smarturl.it/candybarcreepshow

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