On The List :: Marina and the Diamonds @ Le Poisson Rouge [3.15.10]

Marina Diamandis is pretty in a way that makes your stomach hurt. Taking the stage at Le Poisson Rouge, dressed in black and stupifyingly beautiful, Marina and the Diamonds embarked on her second show in the United States. She later confided, with her high cheekbones bursting in ebullience, that she wanted to come to the U.S. (maybe even, specifically New York) to perform for 10 years. The audience clapped, half-magnanimous, half-willing to do whatever this brilliant, talented girl tells us.

Marina opened with the crotch-grabbing assault on traditional femininity, "Girls." She was hectoring in her tone but warm in her affect, smiling through, "girls they never hear from me/'cause I fall asleep when they speak." Immediately, she moved into b-side, "Seventeen." Though she was connected and connecting, the night didn't turn until Marina delved into "I Am Not A Robot," a song about feeling feelings, even when the result is certain agony. In a telling moment in the first chorus the crowd shouted the lyrics and Marina broke in a grin that said something like, "It's fun to travel 4,500 miles and have people know your songs."

Of course, the sound and the arrangements couldn't be nearly as rich as stunning debut record, The Family Jewels. Occasionally the keys and synths were tinny and Marina frequently sung against her pre-recording backing vocals. This, of course, stole from her most charming quality, an ocean liner of a voice with control and range to burn. In her most revealing moment of the evening, Marina sat alone at the keys for "Numb," a song ostensibly about the necessary loneliness of success. As her voice reached from its lowest to its highest register she intoned, "I will wonder why I got dark only to shine." It was heart-breaking and, either through performance skill or the relative freshness of the wound, she seemed genuinely moved by her own music.

After running through demo-favorite of 2008, "Obsessions," Marina moved towards newer material, "Oh No" and soon-to-be radio hit single "Hollywood." Like the video that accompanies the single, there was a moment in "Hollywood," right before the first chorus where you felt her getting famous. She was bigger than the room, meant for television and awkward interviews with stiff comedians at 11.35pm. The Family Jewels is lyrically about her drive for fame, dominance, excellence, the nearly Nietzschean ubermench. Well, in the sold-out basements of the West Village, she was here and it was all happening.

Listen :: Marina and the Diamonds - "I Am Not A Robot" [Starsmith's 24 Carat Remix]
Listen :: Marina and the Diamonds - "Hollywood" [Fenech Soler Remix"

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