Star rating – 7/10
This was a less atmospheric occasion than last year’s gig at Manchester Cathedral – but then venue counts for so much – and the Apollo, when fully seated, does not often help to create those special evenings that you remember for a long time. Laura Marling attracts a very eclectic crowd, both new fans and old folkies alike, which is always a refreshing mix. She treated them all to a great mix of beautiful tunes from her three acclaimed studio albums, not to mention a couple of Mercury nods to boot.
She is a very endearing and confident performer, who does not hog the limelight but shares the stage generously with her five piece band. And boy does she have a large selection of acoustic guitars...
She performed one new song, ‘Pray For Me’, but mainly stayed with tried and tested tracks from her albums. And despite one maverick heckler’s pleas for her to get the crowd going, tonight she preferred to quietly satisfy them – with no complaints. A particular highlight was ‘Night After Night’, which seemed much more powerful and stirring than the very gentle version on her latest CD ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’. ‘Sophia’ sounded beautiful and confessional. And ‘Goodbye England’ was a poetic reminder of her English heritage and roots.
Laura Marling didn’t set the world on fire tonight, but she did quietly and confidently entertain the Apollo crowd, and give as good a Friday night’s gentle entertainment as it is probably right to expect.