Last night saw Marina & The Diamonds make her Dublin debut in front of a jam-packed Academy, a few months after wow-ing a decent crowd in one of the small tents at this year’s Electric Picnic. Valerie Francis opened the show with a pleasant set and some admirable banter with the crowd, but her songs seemed more than a little lost on those that were fashionably early. This could be because she was playing without her usual backing band, but – in this form – she wasn’t a clever choice of support act.
Marina is blessed with the vitality and personality to carry a show without the tunes, but luckily she also comes armed with a small, but impressive bunch of songs. As she belts through her 10-song set at breakneck speed, her stomping dance routines and endearing nature keep everyone engrossed and deliriously happy. She’s notably more professional than in Stradbally, but still remains loveably genuine enough to get away with her gushing. She even stops mid-ramble to thank Joey for coining the term “Emeralds” for the Irish branch of her Diamonds Club. Her set starts with “Seventeen” and “I Am Not A Robot” and includes her other recent mini-hits as well as very, very old songs and one or two new ones. Returning to the stage to close the show with a second, full-band rendition of “Mowgli’s Road” (single out in Ireland tomorrow!), it turns into the highlight of the night and the crowd finally start to really let loose. Unfortunately, it’s all over but there were no grumbles about the length of the show and many were eagerly awaiting the trip down to Carlow tonight for the Heineken gig featuring Marina along with Miike Snow and Digitalism. I imagine I’m not the only one counting the days until she returns on the back of her forthcoming debut album The Family Jewels early next year.