“Hi, I’m Laura…and I’m in Stockton! Why not?” It’s a fair question, but the incongruity of seeing Laura Marling, nu-folk survivor and all around musical hero, on stage at the Arc in Stockton is surely lost on nobody in attendance. After all, Laura Marling has headlined Hall One in the Sage a handful of times, even performing solo as she is tonight. The chance to see Marling so up close and personal is an opportunity that should never be passed up, and as such the Arc is suitably packed and sweaty.
If you’ve ever seen Laura Marling perform before you’ll already know two things; that she doesn’t do encores and that she was excellent. Marling is by this point more than a seasoned professional, she’s a musician who plays with passion and skill but talks with a candor and self-deprecation that never undercuts the serious poetic leanings of her music.
Tracks from Marling’s sixth album, Semper Femina, sit alongside others from across her nine year career, but it’s curios such as b-sides, theatrical arrangements and even a made to measure cover of Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche that really lend this gig the feeling of a warm, intimate, flight of fancy stopover in between larger tour dates. Marling has always been good at making large crowds gravitate toward her personal normality and musical literacy, and seeing her hold a small venue in sway for well over an hour reminds you just what a singular talent she is. There’s still no encore though, sadly.