Greg White gives us his review of Marina and the Diamonds’ sold-out ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ tour, as she stops off in Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom
Last Sunday night, Marina Diamandis – better known as Marina and the Diamonds – brought her ‘Lonely Hearts Club Tour’ to the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Canada. Over two hours before Marina hit the stage, fans had already queued up around the block to make sure they’d have a prime spot to take in Marina’s pop-music spectacle. A quick look around the crowd proved that Marina has both a devoted and eccentric following. About half the attendees donned Marina’s now trademark heart-shaped mole on one of their cheeks. Others sported bedazzled t-shirts, pink vintage attire, or large heart-shaped glasses.
At 10:00pm Marina took to the stage sporting a white skirt, faux-fur jacket, and wedding veil. She launched into ‘Homewrecker’, a track featuring cheeky spoken word verses and a thunderous chorus. Marina immediately had the sold-out crowd fist-pumping and singing along. Throughout the almost two-hour show, Marina pirouetted, blew kisses, and pranced around to most of the songs from her latest release Electraheart, and all of her singles taken from her debut album The Family Jewels.
Marina displayed a clever and humourous knack for theatrics throughout the show. Before performing the guitar-driven pop/rock anthem ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ she put on a sash that read ‘Ms. Shellfish Beach’ and quipped to the crowd about how ‘it’s the only beauty pageant I ever won’. Towards the back of centre stage, there was a luxurious sofa that Marina dramatically sprawled herself out on while singing ‘Starring Role’. During fan-favourite ‘Radioactive’ she clutched a bundle of pastel-coloured flowers that she threw out into the audience one at a time. The fans jumped, dived, and fought for the flowers as if they were trying to catch a just-married bride’s bouquet. Marina joked at one point that she liked to think of herself as a matchmaker, being aware that many bitter-minded singles come to her show and often leave having met someone. Before singing ‘Primadonna’ she introduced the audience to Marilynn, a robotic dog that barked and moved it`s head along to the beat of the song. Marina glided about holding her furry battery-powered companion in one hand, and her microphone in the other.
While much of the show consisted of club beats and pop production, occasionally things slowed down for emotional performances of songs like ‘Lies’, ‘State of Dreaming’, and ‘I Am Not a Robot’. In fact, two of the best moments of the set were when Marina took to the keyboard by herself to perform solo renditions of ‘Teen Idle’ and ‘Obsessions’, while the crowd enthusiastically sang along with her. Marina’s nuanced and heartfelt delivery proved that she’s much more than just her props, slick band, and quirky lyrics; she has a real musician’s sensibility. Her talent is also exemplified by having solo writing credits to her name in an age when pop songs are frequently composed by teams of writers.
Diamandis brought a five-piece band with her who were situated to the outskirts of the stage. While they provided an extremely tight and practically flawless sound to the show, their actual presence felt strangely absent. It gave the sense that this was a carefully selected group of professional studio musicians, not Marina’s playful touring comrades. They were all clad in black, and we never saw the female backing vocalist/keyboard player look up and out to the audience even once. Marina made no reference or interacted with them during any of the songs; halfway through the set she quickly introduced each band member in less than thirty seconds altogether. The sound quality, however, was immaculate, with some tracks even receiving superior production than on her album recordings.
As far as Marina’s vocals are concerned, she delivered an almost perfect performance. During ‘Shampain’ she lost her way briefly, as she fell out of time and key with the music, but recovered quickly and professionally. Earlier this year, Marina suffered a vocal chord hemorrhage, prompting her doctors to ban her from talking and singing for several weeks. Six nights before this gig, Marina gave a pretty dodgy vocal performance singing ‘Primadonna’ on Jimmy Kimmel Live. There was absolutely no evidence of a strain in her voice during this show though, as she effortlessly transitioned from a soft coo to a powerful roar during her performance.
The show closed with ‘Hollywood’, while Marina juggled a microphone, a cheer-leading pompom, and a giant plastic hamburger. The crowd jumped and sang along with her every beat of the way. Although Marina’s current album, Electraheart, has not reached number one in North America like it has in the UK, this string of sold-out concerts full of dedicated fans is evidence that Marina could well be headed towards pop stardom on both sides of the ocean. She is winning over one devoted diamond-fan at a time.
I Am Not A Robot
State Of Dreaming
Power and Control
How To Be A Heartbreaker
Fear and Loathing
The ‘Lonely Hearts Club Tour’ will be touring the UK on the following dates:
Tickets can be purchased here.