Laura Marling and Guests @ Symphony Hall

The soulful folk melodies of Pete Roe drifted around the atrium of the Symphony Hall, perfectly setting the scene for the rest of the night’s performances. Although the seats were not yet full, his set of folk and blues songs were clearly enjoyed by the audience, not only for the catchy melodies but also the heartfelt lyrics.

Next, Taylor Kirk, a sole member of Canadian folk rock band Timber Timbre entered the stage. Although unaccompanied by the rest of the band, he maintained a stage presence and the dissonant chords created a style of folk that can only be described as spooky. Despite this, a comparison to The Tallest Man on Earth springs to mind, but Timber Timbre certainly possessed grit, which echoed their Canadian roots. Even as a solo performer, Kirk’s vocals reverberated around the venue, and reminded the listener of a different age of folk music.

By now, the Symphony Hall was almost completely full and the anticipation for the headliner was electric. Without further ado, Laura Marling and her band entered the stage and instantly started to play I Was Just a Card, which was simply captivating. With the audience in the palm of her hand, Marling continued to perform stand out songs from her most recent album A Creature I Don’t Know. The song Salinas particularly showcased the talent of Marling’s band, in which the banjo player jumped between the French horn and the guitar.

After we enjoyed a few more richly accompanied songs, the band left the stage, leaving Marling with the audience to herself. This was without doubt the highlight of the show. Dimmed lights and just her new temperamental ‘big dog’ guitar made Marling the sole focus; the vastness of the venue was no longer apparent. We were treated to new song Master Hunter, but renditions of Ghosts and Alas, I Cannot Swim reminded us of how Marling has progressed as an artist since her debut; they sounded so light and care-free compared to the darker elements present in her latest album.

Blackberry Stone was a standout moment, the accompaniment building from just the cello to the whole band once more, and was truly beautiful to experience. Ending the set with the atmospheric I Speak Because I Can and Goodbye England (Covered in Snow), Marling appeared vulnerable yet somehow wise beyond her years. Laura Marling’s talent for creating a style of folk that feels fresh and relevant was showcased in this performance. However, the set was over far too quickly. Ending on a crescendo, Marling and her band departed, leaving the entire hall wanting more.

Words by Annabelle Collins

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