It’s just under 12 months since Marina & The Diamonds’ debut Irish headline performance in The Academy, and since that magical November evening when she first captured our hearts, a lot has changed. Critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic for debut album The Family Jewels, a relentless tour including appearances at some of the world’s biggest festivals, and various accolades – including the runner-up spot in the BBC Sound of 2010 poll. To say it has been one hell of a year for the half-Welsh-half-Greek songstress would be an understatement.
Marina has drawn a sizeable crowd to Vicar Street tonight – an impressive feat considering it’s only been six months since her last Irish headliner in Tripod. She is greeted by rapturous cheering, and from the offset Marina completely owns that stage. With her unwavering stage-presence, an impressive display of lighting and visuals, and numerous costume changes, she has truly evolved into a pop star of the highest order – and complimented by the watertight musicality of her band, that ever-distinctive voice is just as vibrant as ever.
‘Obsessions’ is an early highlight, with Marina taking over piano duties. It’s a note-perfect rendition of her debut single, which still holds the original charm that led us to fall for it in the first place. Unsurprisingly, big hits from The Family Jewels such as ‘I Am Not A Robot’, ‘Oh No!’ and ‘Mowgli’s Road’ all prompt mass sing-alongs; her adoring Irish fans – or “Emeralds”, as she calls them – are in fine voice tonight. Marina takes the opportunity to try out a new song – titled ‘Jealousy’, it’s not exactly a positive indication of what to expect when she eventually retreats to the studio to start work on that difficult second album, but here’s hoping it’s a grower. Following a stripped-back rendition of ‘Guilty’, ‘Hollywood’ brings the show to a close. The song – which has been dangerously close to becoming over-played – is given a new lease of life with an emphatic vocal performance from Marina, and her Emeralds backing her up word-for-word.
What continues to be most admirable about Marina Diamandis is her endearing humility – she is genuinely grateful to her fans for the huge role they have played in her success to date. Marina certainly had her audience in the palm of her hand this evening, and sent them home elated. A captivating performance from beginning to end.
Photos: Kieran Frost