Marika Hackman at Epic Studios

I wrote this for Livewire1350, you can read the post here: http://livewire1350.com/marika-hackman-gig-review/,

and the interview:

I was told that I was to interview Marika Hackman a few days before this show, so I didn’t have much time to listen to her stuff. Yet it didn’t take long to fall in love. Her music is hard to subscribe a genre, but if I had to it would be a mixture of dark folk with a bit of acoustic moodiness. Though really, the music talks for itself. Personal recommendations are ‘Bath is Black’ and the new single ‘Drown’ off of her new album We slept at last.

The night began with a lovely lady, Phoebe Robinson, and her acoustic guitar. It took a while to sort out the technical hitches, as an amp decided to explode at one point, but after she was finally able to get going she relaxed into the role. Her set was comprised of 99% her own songs, themed by the seasons, with 1% Outkast. The song arguably didn’t outshine the original ‘Hey Ya’, but it was refreshing to hear an acoustic twist on a classic. For being 17, Phoebe Robinson impressively captured the audience with her voice, and despite the slight hiccup she sung on through. You can find her new music video to her song ‘Blackbird’s Tongue’ here: 

Marika and her two fellows then took to stage in front of the excitable crowd. She began with songs from her mini album That Iron Taste and carried on through to her new single ‘Drown’. The atmosphere in the audience was fantastic at this point, with the lights, smoke and vocals all joining together to create a wonderful, emotional mashup. This was not the kind of gig in which you could dance the night away, and so the whole crowd were constantly static throughout, in a trance-like state. This however just added to the atmospheric vibe. She then went on to her first release, ‘You Come Down’, which I personally felt didn’t live up to her new tracks, though this does show that in 2 years she has really refined her talent.

The guy on the keyboard (who Marika introduced as The Captain) was impressively multi-tasking throughout, playing also the guitar, bass, maracas as well as a few sound effects on the laptop. Marika was also joined on stage by a drummer, who had an enviable drum kit, with as many pedals, cymbals and blocks as anyone could ever need. I was a bit disappointed that Marika never showed off her talents on the drum kit, as she did begin her musical journey on this great instrument. Although, I can definitely appreciate the difficulty in singing and drumming at the same time.

The crowd’s response to each of Marika’s gems seemed slightly overwhelming to her, as she always seemed a bit surprised that people were clapping and cheering. Although this may have been because she got so caught up the melancholic vocals and forgot where she was for minute, as this is a very easy thing to do with her music.

Marika then treated us to a story of when she was performing in a beautiful venue somewhere in England. The atmosphere was apparently very intense, the whole crowd focused on her, when she spotted a small fly zooming towards her. The audience also noticed it, and as Marika took in a deep breath to begin the next chorus, the fly went straight up her nose! This of course deflated the mood and Marika had to go sort herself out and remove the insect. Thankfully nothing like this happened at Epic Studios so we were all just left with a funny image of Marika stumbling about on stage with a fly up her nose.

Joanna Newsom seems to be a big inspiration to Marika Hackman, as we found out in the interview beforehand. She uses Joanne’s song ‘81’ as a warm up for her voice before many shows due to its variety of vocal changes. This song was brought out to the audience this time, and how glad we were. She brings new dimensions to this already fantastic song and it highlights the incredible voice she has.

We were indulged with a few new songs off her album which is due for release February 2015, and I can promise we are all in for a treat. It was a fantastic show, and you can tell Marika is becoming confident with interacting with the crowd. I cannot wait to see what more she has to offer for us.

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