MARINA Diamandis’ solo show is a stadium spectacular on a budget, a collision of song, dance, visual effects and her own mature and very capable songwriting skills in concert hall form. This has the rather unusual effect of giving the star of the show a kind of down-to-earth modesty, even as she’s enacting a complex dance routine alongside her quartet of gender-fluid dancers against a video wall showing far-off landscapes.
Marina, Usher Hall, Edinburgh ***
Yet ever since she first made her breakthrough at the turn of this decade with a placing on the BBC’s Sound of 2010 list, Diamandis (who formerly recorded and performed as Marina and the Diamonds) has carved a career founded on the love and admiration of a significant hardcore of fans. It’s easy to see why; her songs are vibrant anthems with a feminist edge, from the frosty electronic balladry of the recent Handmade Heaven, a song about finding comfort in nature, to the pounding tribute to bling and emotional satisfaction Primadonna and Teen Idle, a solo piano track which echoes Lady Gaga in its examination of the power and pitfalls of fame.
Echoing her recent fourth album Love + Fear (which is themed around the psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s theory that these are the only two emotions which humans experience), the set has been self-divided by its creator into two halves which only her mention of it informs us of, with new and old tracks grouped under each heading. The show moves on through the spiky Bubblegum Bitch, the delicate piano of new song I’m Not Hungry Anymore and No More Suckers’ big assertive groove.
There are no major hits here, save perhaps the Clean Bandit collaboration Baby, yet this only adds to the sense that Diamandis is an artist whose body of work goes beyond the simple allure of chart placings and YouTube hits.