On entering Whelan's, you could be forgiven for thinking that Robotnik and his particular slant on acoustic guitar-playing and hardcore pumping techno have hijacked this supposed gig of Hampshire's Laura Marling (she's not from Reading, she later points out).
Dublin's Chris Morrin is on top form, jumping around the stage and blasting out a clutch of ridiculously catchy tracks from his Pleasant Square album, along with a cover of Daniel Johnston's True Love. He is eager to get the crowd really hyped up for...a folk singer? No matter, it's a fine performance and the place is packed as he finishes his effervescent set.
Marling is an 18-year old pixie, with a blonde bob and a voice that seems to come from another world and she has tried hard - and successfully - to distance herself from the current batch of Nashduffyadele clones that have been spat out by the clunking conveyor belt of the British music industry. The venue is mostly jammed with glistening, chattering teenage girls, complete with headbands and braces - and a particularly unattractive couple in front of me who kiss during pretty much every song - but there is wondrous silence when the first song begins.
The songstrel pulls out mesmerising versions of Shine, Ghosts, My Manic and I and Blackberry Stone, along with a few new ones - one of which is a gorgeous track called Rebecca - a move that shows she is unafraid to shake herself free of the shackles of touring a debut album for too long. Her songwriting ability is uncanny and the themes of love lost and spirituality seem way beyond her years and have nearly everyone in the crowd hanging on every note. Joining her on an array of instruments is Marcus Mumford whose band are apparently called Mumford and Sons and both performers mumble goofily through alot of jokes while Marling comes across as incredibly shy and awkward onstage, especially when she speaks.
Cross Your Fingers and Crawled Out Of The Sea are followed by a quiet-then-loud version of Alas I Cannot Swim and her lovely encore is a new song with 'So Believe' in there somewhere, so that is what I shall call it.
As a Joni Mitchell fan, I am thrilled that a precocious teen such as Marling is harking back to Joni's, and indeed Joan Baez's, brand of heartbroke folk and I imagine there are countless beautiful performances and albums to come from this young lady yet. A hypnotic performance from a glorious talent.
3 minutes ago