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AAA Music | 19 April 2021

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Marika Hackman – Live @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

| On 20, Mar 2014

marika hackman - hoxton

Tuesday 18th March, London

Tonight’s support takes the form of Eaves, Joseph Lyons’ Leeds based project. Back to basics and nowhere to hide, it is just him and his guitar, no pedals and no effects – it is something of an organic performance. ‘Laura’,  his first song, provides the audience with an introduction to his broody folk sound featuring sweet cherub-like guitar playing and vocalisations that resound through the speakers. The next song ‘Perch’ is of full emotional depth, with sorrow and inherent contemplation at its core as Lyons almost becomes lost in his own music eyes closed; you feel you are capturing a private moment and a glimpse into his world. With a voice and lyrical content far more seasoned than expected, given what you see on first appearances it becomes apparent there is plenty of room for growth in the form of ‘Pylons’, which has undeniably strength.

Once on stage Marika Hackman begins with ‘Bath Is Black’, the first track from her mini-album That Iron Taste. Her voice exuding a purity, which can be heard tonight throughout her set with a hint of subtleness added to support the jovial nature of this song. Unlike shows before, Hackman is accompanied by two new band members, which she informs the audience is their first official time playing together. Her playful nature is highlighted as she points to her drummer and guitarist/ keyboardist nicknaming them, “tits” and “teeth”, which gains laughter from the crowd. During her performance of ‘Cannibal’ it becomes apparent how the addition of a band can take a guitar soloist’s project to another level, the drums adding a hunting vibe to the song with such lethal-ness it displays the dark undercurrent of the graphic lyrical content, which we have come to associate with Hackman’s songs. Her voice masks the intimate space with echoes during ‘Mountain Spines’ mellow and quaint with a waning drum beat. It’s the small details in the way the drummer hits the snare with different strokes, her guitarist’s delicate picking and Marika’s gentle strumming that matters here, creating a moment of tranquillity and peace. “I’m not a lady” she sings in ‘I’ll Borrow Time’, an indication that she is self-aware of the girlish qualities she possesses, though it is what makes her endearing and mesmerising to watch.

marika 6

For ‘Retina Television’, Marika Hackman plays alone. Sombre – each word is sung with such clarity and beautiful simplicity. Not a body moves and all eyes are on her transfixed to stage, the room is dead silent only the faint whirring of the fan in the background to be heard, it is a truly captivating moment and for me is the pinnacle of tonight’s show. Joined back on stage with her band, ‘Itchy Teeth’ is next in line. Her voice lingers over the crowd creating an eerie feeling, as she oohs and ahs. ‘Deep Green’ – Hackman’s latest single – is heavier than previous records. It has a fuller, fleshier sound, as the song is led by a fierce tribal beat, while ‘Wolf’, taken from her Sugar Blind EP, has the unusual supplement of synths; a trait not normally associated with her folk sounds, but provides confirmation she is obviously trying to push the experimental boundaries of her music and why not, when she is still yet to release a full length LP.

Bashful and besieged, Marika Hackman thanks the audience for attending, whilst bursting into ‘Cinnamon’ – a song with Nirvana-esque guitar twangs. Gigantic sounds, the song culminates in a blurred wall of reverberation adding a new level of intensity to the dimension of her music, to what has been a magnetising and enchanting show.

Reviews and Photos: Lois Browne