Marina and the Diamonds – The Ritz, Manchester – 31st October 2010

Posted on November 2, 2010

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written for High Voltage

Marina Diamandis has had a very successful year indeed. She sits proudly in the pantheon of new-wave female pop-singers and projects a clear desire to stay there. With her first big tour nearing its conclusion and her following growing rapidly it seems safe to say that her success will continue. However, tonight’s performance suggests constant claims that she is a modern-day Kate Bush are well wide of the mark. She brought her unique sense of style and performance to Manchester’s Ritz but left some doubt over the certainty of her aspiration to be “massive”.

Marina’s sense of drama and performance are unquestioned. She has a very powerful voice, makes numerous costume changes and really owns the stage – a captivating combination. Her lyrics are also interestingly analytical, proving that she is more than just a regular pop star. It is the music that accompanies her voice which invites criticism as it treads way too closely to a cabaret style. Track after track contains awful synthesisers, eventually grating to an unbearable degree and, in general, the band seem pretty much incapable of providing her with a serious sounding backing track. When Marina takes to the keyboard for one of her stripped down ballad numbers things change and she exhibits a far more genuine sound but these moments are too infrequent. Far too many songs are wrapped inside an excessively shiny pop exterior which is difficult to penetrate and appreciate.

That’s not to say the crowd inside the Ritz were not sent home happy. The vile stench that wafted around the auditorium did little to dampen their spirits as songs such as ‘I’m Not a Robot’, ‘Shampain’ and ‘Hollywood’ mesmerised and delighted the watching faithful. Despite a hangover after her exertions in Dublin the previous night, Marina provided a commanding performance, leaving every young female in the building wishing they were her. That gift alone will keep her career motoring but grandiose claims comparing her to some of the very best British female artists in history should be treated with caution.

words by Robert Pollard

photography by Sam Ellis

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Posted in: Music