Heading to First Ave on a Friday night is always an exciting experience, but knowing Laura Marling is the artist that’s about to put on a show brings that excitement up a level (or ten.) Although there were still tickets available at the door, people were lined up to get in and the floor felt crowded and full of anticipation. Many people were dressed very well, donning sun dresses and sweaters. It also happened to be the first truly warm day outside in quite a while, so spirits were lifted to a whole new level.
First up was Valley Queen, a female fronted band with Florence and the Machine and My Morning Jacket vibes. Hailing from Los Angeles, frontwoman Natalie Carol sang in an ethereal voice but still was very clearly a badass girl boss. Valley Queen’s set flowed well from one song to the next and the crowd was respectful and most definitely into their music. They were the perfect thoughtful and attention grabbing band to open for Laura Marling.With only one opener, the once the show got on the road, it felt like no time at all until Laura Marling took the stage. Wearing a mustard yellow shirt and flared jeans, she was truly glowing and was the picture of beauty. The stage and her mic stand were adorned with flowers and it felt as if First Avenue had been transformed into a garden straight out of someone’s dreams. Backed by a band and multiple backup singers, the stage was full but she seemed to radiate and call the gaze of everyone to her naturally.
Her set was strong from beginning to end and nearly everyone around me quietly sang along to every song she played. I saw tears being shed, couples holding hands, and of course, Instagram photos being taken. Marling’s most recent album, “Semper Femina,” which translates to “Always a Woman,” celebrates females and femininity in general. In turn, the venue was full of so many females, all of them vibrating with excitement, power, happiness, and gratitude for the show they were able to watch. I felt the same way, and was pretty much in awe for the entire set.
Marling interacted with the crowd as if she had known them forever and spoke to them with respect and gratitude. When she left the stage, she thanked the crowd one final time and seemed to float away. I didn’t notice anyone immediately rushing to leave. It seemed like everyone wanted to stay a little longer and bask in the beauty of the performance that had just taken place in the city’s most loved venue. When I finally did make my way outside, people were standing around enjoying the warmth, hugging their friends, and talking about their favorite moments of the show. I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to the songs I had just heard live over and over again.