Live review: Laura Marling 7th October 2021 – SWG3, Glasgow

Her first tour since 2020’s Songs for our Daughter, Laura Marling bravely holds a completely solo show, no support acts, no backing band, just one woman and many guitars. The stage is a simple living room esque set up, cosy against the huge warehouse setting of SWG3, in Glasgow’s rainy west end.

She opens with a ‘nice short easy one’, one of her now famous suites – the opening four tracks of her 2013 album Once I was an Eagle, an immediate burst of earnest emotion which would reflect the show to come.

Laura Marling is pure chanteuse, holding the audience captive with nothing but guitar and vocal and powerful poetic storytelling. We enjoy a few anecdotes, about childhood trips to Glasgow and her disdain for singing ‘Goodbye England’, arguably one of her most beautiful songs when she is on tour. Her Mother’s response to this complaint from Marling? ‘Get on with it’ and we’re glad she did.

We are treated to a fitting Leonard Cohen cover and a never before played song, which shows a vulnerability in Marling not often seen, talking of “walking into this world alone” and always being a mysterious muse’s girl. Not quite the upbeat action SWG3 is used to but the audience is equally entertained, focused entirely on each heart wrenching tale Marling shares. 

The set is a great journey through Marling’s many Mercury Prize nominated repertoire, from the flowing pop of ‘Sophia’ to her most snarling country self in ‘Salinas’, we are entranced from start to end.

Covering many fan favourites, she ends the show confidently, without an encore, with two tracks from her most recent album. The title track, an ode to her imaginary child and a nod to Maya Angelou’s Letters to my Daughter, is her take on “what it is to be a woman in this world”. We are treated to a rare sight as Marling dons an electric guitar for her final song ‘For You’. Even without the rousing string section of the album version, the beauty of this instant classic of a love song shines through, leaving us all longing for more. 

Photo credit: Justin Tyler

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