Laura Marling, Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Tuesday November 4
Despite all the attention that has come her way this year, Laura Marling remains resolutely unfazed by the trappings of stardom. When shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, she fretted that “winning it would have been disastrous for my career”. She regards the rituals of the encore as phoney and ridiculous, opting instead to add her “encore” to the end of her main set. And it’s only recently that she has even consented to wear make-up on stage.
This unadorned, “what you see is what you get” approach suits Marling’s music well, allowing her elegant, articulate and remarkably mature songcraft to shine through. Last night’s show featured several new compositions, easily the equals of her recorded work, including a Christmas song that avoided using the word as that would be “too corny”.
Marling sang quietly and delicately, with immense concentration and a fixed, faraway, unreadable gaze. Her set alternated between solo acoustic performances and full band arrangements, her backing sympathetically provided by a fine four-piece troupe. Violin and stand-up bass were to the forefront throughout, augmented variously by keyboards, drums, banjo, mandolin, squeeze box and clarinet.
The capacity audience couldn’t have been more attentive and respectful. At the age of eighteen, Laura Marling is exactly where she wants to be.