Alternative music reviews

June 14, 2008

Laura Marling – St Philips Church, Salford, June 10 2008

Filed under: laura marling,reviews — @ 6:01 pm Comments (5)

St Philips Church SalfordNo doubt about it – the venue’s the star tonight. St Philips with St Stevens is situated in what remains of old Salford, and is a gorgeous 1820’s building that is still in good condition. Contemporary Salford intrudes, however, in the form of warnings to keep Satnavs hidden (and the inevitable post-gig smashed windows). Still, good luck to the forward-thinking vicar, and the little bar serving local real ale was another nice touch.

I’ll try to avoid “waif-like” and “vulnerable” clichés, but she’s a slight, short-haired young lass, and her introductory ‘Rebecca’ was performed solo, unmiked and unamped, with the audience giving total respect. Her clear vibrato-tinged tones were enhanced by the church acoustics, and she continued with just her and an acoustic guitar, until the rest of the band gradually joined her on the altar. Sparse, sensitive backing gives a stripped-down feel, allowing the underlying melancholy (if not morbidity) of her lyrics to come through, with ‘Night Terror’ sending a shiver down my particular spine, before the evening ends with a jaunty ‘Alas I cannot swim’, done as an advance encore.

Any female folk(-ish) singer-songwriter gets the usual comparisons; Beth Orton, even Sandy Denny. My own points of reference were the Decemberist’s quieter moments, and maybe a nod to Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh. It’s pleasing (to me, at any rate) to see the decreasing influence of the scene (although she cites Will Oldham as a major influence) in favour of yet another native folk-based revival. She’s only 18 – watch this space….

See a video of the song Night Terror

Review by Big Dave


  1. Interesting to compare. I was at the gig in St James, London a couple of days later. Very enjoyable. My review is here on rashbre central

    Comment by rashbre — June 14, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  2. You never did subscribe to my obsession with alt-country, did you? I warn you I have the latest Will Oldham album and I’m prepared to play it…

    Comment by Cool Noise — June 17, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

  3. It was a fantastic gig – Ghosts sounds heart-wrenchingly gorgeous.

    Comment by seaneeboy — July 9, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  4. I was born in 1926 and baptized at St.Phillips Church, my sister was born 1933 and baptized there – my brothers Thomas Taylor -1917 and Charles Taylor I think were baptized at the church too. I have been unable to find a record of births of my sister Helen Taylor, possibly born 1915/1916/1957….also brother Joseph Taylor
    born 1915-1915 approx. Do you have records of these baptisms???? I would be very interested to know. I was a friend of the O’Garr girls and
    also knew Mr. Blinkhorn, also knew Annie Hewins/Hodgbes I would be interested in any news of them…but possibly they have passed on.
    Thanking you for a reply
    presently living in America.

    Comment by Joyce (Taylor) Bieltz — September 10, 2011 @ 12:03 am

  5. We attend St Phills for a numgber of year I walked in the whit walks and my partenal family were the Walkers does anybody know them we lived on north george street my mum’s family were members of St Stephens and originally lived on church street their name was millward

    Comment by Elaine Taylor — September 23, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

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