Marina and the Diamonds (O2 Academy Bristol – Oct’12)

Marina and the DiamondsStorming into the limelight with her debut album ‘The Family Jewels’, Marina Diamandis joined the influx of female singer-songwriters bursting onto the UK music scene over the past few years. Of course, no comparisons should be made; she’s a rather unique artist – a maverick of sorts. Her songs and vocal performances adopt a range of contrasting styles from the theatrical Disneyesque “Mowgli’s Road” to the 80’s electronic-reminiscent “Shampain” to the wonderfully dark piano piece “Numb”. She’s regularly quoted as saying that people are too quick to take an artist and find a comparison, but on the night there was no danger of this as her adoring fan base idolised her like no other.‘The Diamonds’ were out in force for a gig that the Welsh songstress would later describe as being the closest to a homecoming on this leg of her UK tour. They were of course part of the act; Marina and the Diamonds is commonly mistaken for a band, but the extension is her fans. They ultimately helped her reach number one with her second album ‘Electra Heart’ and on the night they were treated to a set dominated by its tracks. Now they lend themselves to ‘The Lonely Hearts Club’ theme of her tour in which Electra Heart, the character she used to channel her music, would triumphantly play out the album that depicts Marina’s personal relationship heartbreak. It was a phenomenal, flawless performance.Entering sporting a wedding veil and carrying a bouquet of flowers, Marina’s appearance on stage was met with a deafening noise dominated by teenage screaming in an audience that had a remarkably mixed demographic. I myself was there as a fan of the quirkier indie pop that had brought the performer to the attention of many, but Electra Heart would open the set with the track “Homewrecker”, a wounded animal affair which has since led many to give me an odd look as I’ve sung it to myself down Glastonbury High Street more than once since (my credibility is in tatters). Spoken word poetry opens the song, but when the electro beat dropped and her band kicked in, Marina sprung into life and the fun began. Following up with “Mowgli’s Road” and “Oh No!”, the beautiful Marina held the audience like putty in her hands as the upbeat sass had everybody dancing and singing along. Of course, she was on top form but it truly came across with the performance of “Lies” with her powerful vocals showcasing the best of her talent as the first slow, ‘pouring out the soul’ track complemented her incredible voice. The audience were in raptures upon its ending and after a costume change, Marina was back with the first big sing-along of the night, “I Am Not A Robot”.
Photograph by Martin Thompson - Posted by O2 Academy Bristol

Photograph by Martin Thompson – Posted by O2 Academy Bristol

“The State Of Dreaming”, “Power and Control”, “Bubblegum Bitch” (apparently her favourite off of the album) and “Starring Role” further showcased the fantastic live reproduction of ‘Electra Heart’ tracks, which had an audience/Marina love-in and moments of banter intermittent throughout. Going to a coat hanger stand of props and donning a ‘Miss Shellfish Beach’ sash symbolised a jovial persona that complemented her stage presence. “Obsessions” was given the prelude of Marina reminiscing about her previous Bristol performances at ‘Start The Bus’, and the chilling “Valley Of The Dolls” brought out the best in her vocal performance.  Next up, “Primadonna”, the signature tune that was introduced by a story about a dog called Marilyn who she had apparently found whoring it up in a crack den before rescuing her, getting her on the straight and narrow and giving her a role in the video. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a real dog. This was probably the best live representation of Marina’s music; the electro to acoustic guitar and slower to faster tempo working well in tandem with more stunning vocals performed with theatrics and joy. The audience loved it. Another big hitter in “Shampain” followed, before my personal favourite on the night, “Hollywood”, which possibly has the most infectiously catchy chorus ever written. “Radioactive” and “Fear And Loathing” came next before the inevitable encore, in which Marina performed a wonderful piano acoustic of “Teen Idle”. The pretty and melodic outpouring of frustration in “Hypocrates” then led into Marina’s latest offering of “How To Be A Heartbreaker”, which capped off a dazzling performance. A buzz, great energy and joy then slowly fizzled out with the crowds filtering into the streets; fellow audience members shuffling out all speaking well of Marina and her show. I was a little bit before, but now I am well and truly a ‘Diamond’. My only gripe was that she didn’t play the beautiful piano pieces “Numb” or “Buy The Stars”. I had even attempted to influence her set list with a pre-gig tweet! This was different than any other gig I’d been to, especially being a rock/indie boy at heart, but I loved it and was astounded by Marina’s flawless and vibrant performance. Hopefully in June she’ll arrive in Glastonbury for that little event down the road. If she does then she’ll no doubt be playing to a bigger crowd than the one that packed out the John Peel Stage in 2010, and I’ll certainly be there. My last note has to be on the support act Foxes, a female solo act who impressed the audience with performances of tracks from her EP ‘Warrior’ (Released November 11th). She too boasted jaw dropping vocal talent with a lively stage presence suiting her upbeat, sweet pop style. She’s making big waves and laying down good impressions at the moment and it’s understandable. The standout track was “White Coats” and I wouldn’t be surprised if that song plays an important role in her becoming the next big thing. To find out more about Marina and the Diamonds visit and if you want to check out Foxes then head to