Live Review: Laura Marling at The Leadmill

I headed down to The Leadmill in Sheffield on Saturday to see Laura Marling for my first proper gig since before the pandemic started – Laura herself stated it was her first tour in four and a half years, so it was a triumphant return for her as well. I’ve seen Laura a few times before and she always puts on a fantastic show, with this gig being no different.

By Jane Howkins

The gig was a very intimate affair – when I’ve seen Laura perform before she has usually had a backing band of musicians performing alongside her and a support act performing first. However, on this occasion there was no support act and it was just Laura performing by herself on stage with her acoustic guitar. This gave the show a very intimate feel and the fact that it was sold out only adding to this, giving it a feeling of community.

The show started off with the opening four part section of Take The Night Off, I Was An Eagle, You Know & Breathe from her fourth album Once I Was An Eagle, which was rather overrepresented in the set list as a whole. These tracks made for an impressive medley, before the show proper began. Master Hunter brought the tempo back up slightly, before things quietened down once again.

Hope In The Air & What He Wrote were performed next and changed the atmosphere in the room accordingly. Every so often you go to a gig and a song is played that just reminds you of how important live music is, sweeping you off your feet and losing yourself in the moment until the song is over. Hope In The Air & What He Wrote are two of my favourite Marling songs and have a very dark and ethereal feel to them, and for a moment everything went quiet and it was as though time stood still, as everything took on a mystical quality. It’s moments like these that remind us why we go to gigs and why music like this is so important, especially after the events of the past two years.

A new song called The Shadows was played next, as well as a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche (which sounded simply immense) and then Marling performed a few fan favorites including Sophia & Daisy. Songs from her latest album, Song For Our Daughter, were also represented quite well, with Fortune sounding absolutely stunning.

This was a fantastic gig and one that felt well needed after the pandemic – it felt like a community of people getting together to worship together and the intimate atmosphere just made it feel more special. I would have liked to have heard more songs from her albums Short Movie, Semper Femina & Alas, I Cannot Swim but the songs performed still went down very well. Laura Marling is a fantastic musician and one that never disappoints – if you’re a fan of her music and haven’t seen her live yet then I implore you to check her out.