Beneath a big blue ceiling, Laura Marling sits unassumingly tuning her acoustic guitar. No one noticed her come on stage.
When she’s ready she starts a quiet riot. Her songs are observational gems gather pace as she taps along to her melodies. “I changed the key without telling Marcus,” she says wryly of her background musician, launching into ‘Ghosts’.
Her voice is like a more breathy Marissa Nadler and fills the whole room, all the way to the ceiling. Wearing little red shoes and sporting bright platinum hair, she has the charm of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and Dusty Springfield all in one. It’s astonishing that she only turned 17 a few weeks ago. Performing with the Mystery Jets, she sits alongside, confidently. Like a rare sort of songbird, she was gone. As suddenly as she had appeared.
As Natty swaggers on to the stage, he exudes mellow happiness. He performs swinging reggae. And throws in some lo-fi hip hop for good measure. Simple melodic songs that will make you smile. With a cheerful disposition, long dreadlocks and bright green t-shirt, he manages to bring some sunshine on a cold March evening.
By the time the Mystery Jets come on, it seems the audience have entered a Narnia-land where musical talent reigns supreme. They offer wit in their rattling indie tunes. Kicking off with their smoking old single ‘Diamond in the Dark’, they seem to have evolved beyond their debut and play their material with a profound confidence. And above all, they look like they’re having fun, despite losing Henry from their lline-up. “Oh, Henry?” asks Will, “He’s over there,” he says, pointing to the side of the stage. Perhaps they outgrew him. Perhaps in was a publicity stunt all along.
But, no-one cares when they can write pop gems like ‘Two doors down’, from their new album. “I’m in love with a girl who lives two doors down,” croons Blaine. With the ring-a-ding catchiness of a Beatles track, it is one of their best. And they keep them coming. A sight to behold indeed.