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Concert Review: West London folk musicians land in Hollywood

Amanda Nieto
Life Editor

Laura Marling and Alessi’s Ark brought the West London folk scene to a crowd of about 200 eager fans at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Troubadour.

The West London folk scene has included other similar acts such as: Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, Noah and the Whale and the ever-growing popular Mumford & Sons.

Alessi’s Ark started off the night with her lovely British voice accompanied with the acoustic guitar, serving as a nice prelude to the extreme talent of Marling.

“I often write songs in the stream of consciousness and sometimes strange lines crop up,” Marling said.

Marling, lead singer and guitarist, is backed by a five-piece band with instruments ranging from the banjo, double bass, cello and drums.

Playing a 17 song set list, Marling performed an array of numbers that spanned her three album career.

Her newest album, ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’, was released on Sept. 12.

The album demonstrates Marling’s growth as a poetic lyricist and musician.

“The new album seemed more character driven,” concert attendee Julisa Gallegosa said. “She wrote about characters outside of herself.”

Standing on stage with her band mates and large assortment of instruments, Marling immediately pulled the audience in with her song “Rambling Man,” off her 2010 album “I Speak Because I Can.”

Marling’s music comes on like a silent storm with the words and tempo growing to a calm severity.

As she played, the audience fed off her energy and equally returned it by swaying with the music and throwing in the occasional ‘whoop’.

After one audience member professed his love for Marling she said, “Stage banter is not my forté, so I will continue if you don’t mind.”

However, the audience did not mind. While performing a medley of her new songs, “Don’t Ask Me Why” and “Salinas”, the crowd was absorbed in the light crispness of Marling’s voice and the intensity of the surrounding instruments.

The band then exited the stage, leaving Marling alone for an intimate solo performance with her fans.

“With a great band like mine we rarely f*** up, so to keep things interesting and fresh I play a new song to try and see if I f*** up,” Marling said.

Marling stood under a dimly lit neon blue sign needing only her voice and guitar to carry the audience through into a realm of sheer musical bliss.

“She has freshness and depth,” audience member Paula Paige said.

After three songs, the band filed back on stage and was ready to finish out the night in a whirlwind of folk madness.

“I like that her new songs have more instruments and sound livelier,” Gallegosa said.

“We aren’t rock ‘n’ roll enough to do an encore, so just pretend the second to last song is the last and the last one can be your encore,” Marling said.

The bond between musician and audience crystallized as she performed the final song of the night, entitled “All My Rage.”

“She has talent, which is something missing with most musicians,” Paige said.

Music by Laura Marling and Alessi’s Ark can be found on iTunes and Amazon.

Amanda Nieto can be reached at

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