Jun 21, 2012
Laura Marling at The Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago on June 19, 2012
Laura Marling Concert Setlist at The Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago on June 19, 2012 | setlist.fm
We had upper balcony seats at stage center. Marling was wearing a black sleeveless maxi dress with black retro nikes (laces open). I am buying those shoes if I can find them (just to pretend I am her or am at least her friend). The opening act, Willy Mason, is a dead ringer for Ryan Gosling (oh and he had a nice voice too). Acoustics were great unless Laura was talking (she tends to mumble a bit). A great show as always. She sings so effortlessly and full of a mourning and sadness that hits your core. Sometimes you just have to go there. Marling has her now signature question of the audience: "If you would like an encore, consider this the last song of the night" and then gauges audience approval by decibel of claps. As promised, she left the stage with barely a goodbye after the second song (not even a "see you next time Chicago!").
For a slightly different take on the night and a bit more description, I am posting a review from my friend and concert going partner in crime on occasion, Becca Waterloo:
Laura Marling makes singing look effortless as she throws her head back, half opening her mouth to surprise you with a soft vocal ability with a whole heart behind it. Her band was adorable which backed her up - a bunch of young brits with ukeleles, drums (sometimes played at the same time), french horns, cellos, bass, and keyboard. At times they stepped away to give Marling center stage; the show went on as she carried the weight solo. Marling did what every front runner should do - introduce their band, and they each entertained us with random facts about Chicago in their adorable british accents. The show was the perfect length, in a lovely venue where we sat in front row balcony, looking over them. Definitely enjoyable compared to the Foster the People show two days later (see review posted next).
Becca has missed her calling and should do reviews for pay right? Is a degree in architecture going to get you on guest lists to great shows?
So back to me and my sidebar anecdote for this glorious show:
Two women sitting next to us (seats 1-4) kept reminding us that we cannot sit in their seats because they were indeed "their seats!" (we were in seats 5 and 6). As people showed up for the night, we were continually asked to move down one seat (to the empty seat next to us). No one could see the numbers on the seats so we were a bit confused. So trying to be neighborly and reasonable, we moved down one seat only to be reminded that that seat was "their seat!". We would move back over one and tell the nice folks that we were sorry but they must not be in their correct seat. We kept waiting for the "mystery friends" to show up since only two of seats 1-4 were taken. The imaginary mystery friends never showed up and the two ladies sat every other seat like this: Person _______ Person _______. So that means they each bought two seats per person. No, they were not skinny women but they were not gargantuan either plus there were armrests that were not moveable rendering comfort in the face of obesity unattainable regardless of a two seat purchase. What is the name for this disorder? Sityourassnexttosomeoneelsephobia? I digress.
Willy Mason (Ryan Gosling?):
Here is a video I took of Marling singing "I Speak Because I Can" from the Athenaeum show:
This performance gets a 4 out of 5 guitar rating for overall perfect sound and vocals and great seats but gets ding for bad neighbors to our left, uncomfortable ancient auditorium seats, and not getting another song. Tough crowd.
Helpful tip of the day:
This show was sponsored by Lincoln Hall/Schubas so they offer a free appetizer with dinner at their venues if you can provide your concert ticket. We ate at Schubas Harmony Grill, which has wonderful food. The hummus platter served as our free appetizer and was very hearty and fresh complete with long cut thick carrot and cucumber slices. I also recommend the spicy shrimp tacos. Yum.