Live Review: Marina and the Diamonds at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – Monday 6th September 2010

By on Friday, 10th September 2010 at 11:00 am
 

This past Monday, the DC branch of TGTF put on their finery and headed into DC to see Marina and the Diamonds play at the well-loved 9:30 Club. The local hotspot has seen thousands of amazing shows over the years and has played host to some of the greats (the Police, the Ramones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers… even Bob Dylan has played there).  And Marina Diamandis, I believe, is poised to join their ranks. Already enjoying success in the UK, she is just starting to break through in the US, and as she told me in our Q&A,  “I’ve been here quite a few times now. I have never done anything more exciting than this trip though. You all feel so right! My future is here.” And even though the show didn’t sell out, judging by the crowd’s reaction, I think she’s right!

First up was opener Young the Giant from Orange County, California, who we introduced you to a couple of weeks back. I had high hopes for them because I’d loved what I heard online, and they were every bit as amazing as I expected. Their 8-song set (see the partial setlist below) was packed with energy,  with the band members literally bouncing off of each other and the instruments. Amazingly, the only casualty was the beer of one of the guitarists. Playing tambourines and maracas and dancing and strutting to the music, lead vocalist Sameer Gadhia had fantastic stage presence. Despite the fact that their debut album wont even be released until October, they had a good number of fans in the crowd, and they seemed to quickly convert the rest of the audience to being fans. Heck, even the gut who shouted “MARINA!!!” every 5 seconds eventually shut up. My favorite songs they played were ‘I Got,’ ‘Cough Syrup’ and ‘My Body,’ and these were also the songs that went over the best with the crowd. ‘I Got’ is a slower song in 6/8 time with a gorgeous melody and great vocal harmony, and their single ‘My Body’ is a high energy stomper that can really whip the crowd into a frenzy. They’re well worth seeing if they ever play near you.

But as good as they were, the night was really about Marina. She took the stage in a variety of outfits, from lingerie and a cut-up t-shirt to a letterman jacket to a full-length, long-sleeved velvet dress that caused her to exclaim in her Welsh accent, “I tell you what, this black velvet is a bitch. It’s so hot I actually want to peel my face off.” And while her stunning looks and her strutting around the stage would make anyone fall in love with her, it was her voice that really stole the show.  It is incredibly powerful and versatile and she doesn’t hold back with it at all — it sounds just as good live as it does on her record, ‘The Family Jewels,’ if not better.

As Marina mentioned in our interview, the crowd favorites were ‘Obsessions,’ ‘I Am Not a Robot’ and ‘Hollywood’ — they really had the crowd singing along, which made her face light up. She told me “American audiences are a lot more loving and expressive. They make me feel uninhibited” But some of the most special moments of the night were also the simplest and most understated. She sat down at the keyboard to play ‘Obsessions’  and the room went silent. ‘Starstrukk’ was another highlight for me. The way she can take a  mildly offensive pop song by an act as heinous as 3Oh!3 and turn it into something unsettling and thought-provoking is mind-boggling.

When she wasn’t awing the crowd with her voice, she was jumping around the stage, doing dances and playing with props — her enthusiasm was infectious. While her more serious songs like ‘Numb’ are musically enthralling, it’s hard not to have fun when Marina is gesturing with stuffed hamburgers, light-up hearts and robots. A Marina and the Diamonds show is truly a treat for the senses, and is NOT something to be missed.

Set lists and photos are under the cut.

Young the Giant Set List (Partial)

Unknown Song
I Got
Cough Syrup
Guns Out
Twelve Fingers
Streetwalker
Strings
My Body

Marina and the Diamonds Set List

The Outsider
Girls
Seventeen
I Am Not A Robot
Oh No!
Numb
Obsessions
Rootless
//Costume Change Instrumental
Hollywood
Shampain
Are You Satisfied?
Guilty
//
Starstrukk (3Oh!3 Cover)
Mowgli’s Road

Young the Giant

Marina and the Diamonds

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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