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Live Review: Laura J Martin at the Lexington

Ahead of the release of her debut album, the precociously talented Liverpudlian and self confessed “folkie weirdie beardie (without the beardie)” graces the stage at the Lexington on Wednesday 4th January 2012.

Written by Richard Pearmain

Laura J Martin by Sam Parr
Illustration by Sam Parr

At a time of year when live music is usually thin on the ground, Fortuna Pop’s trio of Winter Sprinters at the Lexington gave the grateful gig-goer a chance to shelter from a damp and dismal early January evening. Nestled on a first night’s set list, between the rockabilly of the Werewandas and the acerbic laments of the Singing Adams, was the gifted Laura J Martin.

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I’d first caught Laura J Martin last year, supporting Hannah Peel at the Windmill and then Misty’s Big Adventure at 93 Feet East, and both times was amazed. She’d subsequently picked up ringing endorsements from DJs Marc Riley and Rob Da Bank (having already graced the pages of Amelia’s Magazine), and a chance to see her play live again (with the added bonus of an impending album release) was not to be missed.

Laura J Martin by Gareth A Hopkins
Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Things got underway with the sprightly Doki Doki, as a swirling, stomping Martin built up looped layers of flute. She is an engaging performer, with a fragile voice rather reminiscent of a young Kate Bush, and she deftly switches between flute, mandolin and keyboards whilst backed by assorted samples and her trusty loop station. Martin may be from a folk background, but her music is infused with contemporary influences (as her collaborations with Canadian MC Buck 65 and former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci frontman Euros Childs show). A new piano-based number gave way to Fire Horse, inspired by Martin’s time living in Japan and learning of the story of Yaoya Oshichi. A Lalo Schifrin-esque flute intro announced the arrival of the slinky Spy, whilst Martin entranced the crowd with the lilting Tom. She closed her set with Salamander, switching between mandolin and flute and building to a hypnotic finish.

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As she heads off on a mini-tour and with her album, The Hangman Tree, hitting the stores in a couple of weeks, it looks like 2012 will be the year that Laura J Martin will astound an even greater audience!


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3 Responses to “Live Review: Laura J Martin at the Lexington”

  1. mike watts says:

    Agree completely with this review – we were at the Lexington and saw Laura originally about the same time as the reviewer and were immediately impressed with her musicality on flute, mandolin, piano and fluid looping skills, but it’s her originality and creation of her own musical world that captivates. She genuinely is that rare ‘one of a kind’ musical talent that stands out from the crowd. The impressive four star reviews from the February issues of Q Magazine and Uncut for ‘The Hangman Tree’ accord well with the view of Amelia’s Magazine that she is rather special. Uncut called her the ‘Scouse ingénue’ which I thought reflects her unique creative talent very well. It’s a must have album but do catch her live if at all possible to appreciate her talent and presence fully. The new piano piece she played at the Lexington ‘Sour Grapes’ was as distinctively ‘Laura J Martin’ as the rest of her work and the joyful prospect of an even more impressive portfolio for fans to savour

  2. Amelia says:

    Hi Mike
    thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts about the gig here, it sounds very special indeed. I wish I could have been there! Look out for our full album review, coming up shortly, all the best, A x

  3. mike watts says:

    I’ll be very interested to read what you think – it’s gets a lot of play in our house! Beautiful illustrations you have in the review btw.
    Shame you couldn’t be at the Lexington – I wasn’t planning to take a video as poor Laura was suffering with a cold that day but Salamander is one of my favourites and I thought she did a cracking job at the Lexington

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