Review: Marina & the Diamonds – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 26/02/12

Originally published for IAreYeti.

In what was to be a showcase of new material from her upcoming album, ‘Electra Heart’, Marina & the Diamonds did not disappoint. Along with brilliant support in the form of Eugene McGuinness, London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire was set alight with talent on Sunday night.

Looking suave in a silk shirt, with a freshly styled quiff, Eugene McGuinness swaggered on stage and launched straight in to his new single, ‘Shotgun’, showing the crowd what he was all about. When introducing himself, McGuinness commented on how nobody in the crowd will have any idea who he is but that was no issue, as they would by the end of his set.

With a name like Eugene McGuinness, you would not usually expect such an effortlessly cool performer, with a very old-school rock’n’roll vibe about him. But it is not just McGuinness’ style that is so appealing; most importantly, he also has great songs like ‘Lion’ and ‘Thunderbolt’ to hold a crowd’s attention.

In a change of musical style, when the crowd had sufficiently packed in, Marina graced the stage, dressed like a flower girl at a wedding, and performed a beautiful rendition of recent single ‘Radioactive’. Accompanied only by a piano, Marina was able to show off the operatic tones of her voice, which don’t always come across on her recordings.

While lyrically her new songs may still surround the same old themes, highlighting her fascination with the US and the American Dream, the sound seems to be a lot more 80’s influenced, with electronics and synthesisers featuring more heavily.

Not to let anyone down, Marina played plenty songs from her debut album, ‘The Family Jewels’, including popular singles ‘I Am Not a Robot’ and ‘Oh No!’, much to the crowd’s delight. Ending with an encore of ‘Fear and Loathing’, a song from her upcoming album, followed by hit single ‘Hollywood’, the gig drew to a close.

With a predominantly male audience declaring their love for Marina in between almost every song and constantly commenting on how hot she is, it was quite difficult to take her seriously. However, she is a very good performer, with a large enough collection of great pop songs to get even the most timid of crowds moving. If only she would lose the cuddly toys and heart-shaped stage props…

Overall Rating: 3/5

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