Marina and the Diamonds - SXSW

Located beyond the frivolous crowds and buskers, tucked away from the noise and rapture is the quaint bar known as Lamberts. The queue stretched outside yet peering through the doors indicated a virtually empty downstairs saloon. After a quick pass flash it was upstairs where an already excitable crowd had gathered. Those in the know knew what had drawn them there; word travels fast and even across the pond it seems that Marina and The Diamonds is already a name to watch.

But not listen to. Fifteen minutes after showtime and a backing tape was still playing. Twenty minutes gone and just before alternative plans were taken up, Marina leapt onstage dressed in a yellow bear suit for 'Bla Bla Bla'. A perplexing start but a memorable one nonetheless. At least the suit hinted at the playfulness inherent in the set, of chirpy bass and bar room piano which in turn proved that the time spent to sort out the acoustics clearly had not been long enough. Regardless, 'The Outsider' showcased Marina’s voice; operatic and tinged with emotion, the sort of voice that should soundtrack James Bond theme songs. With her buxom figure and smouldering Mediterranean good looks she looked out of place fronting what is essentially a guitar pop band, particularly during a teasing rendition of 'I'm Not A Robot'. 'Oh No' brought a series of drama school histrionics whilst Marina then starred behind a keyboard for a stripped down rendition of 'Obsessions'.

The gig then took a bizarre ironic twist with the dreaming, insulting escapism of 'Hollywood', not that any of the natives seemed nonplussed. As the gig wore on, the sound problems worsened meaning 'Shampain' left a bitter taste due to a prominent piano which led to an irksome jauntiness. Yet, used sparingly, the piano was a welcome addition as it gifted Guilty a sentimental touch and gave closing track 'Mowgli’s Road' a welcome veneration.