Marina Dropped “and the Diamonds”, but She Still Shines Like One Check out our thoughts, photos and found vids of her performance at The Greek!
LOS ANGELES, CA- Artists who transition from one stage of their career to another can often find themselves in a daunting position. Some artists can do it seamlessly, others could take a misstep and see their musical stock fall a couple of positions. With her most recent album Love + Fear, Marina Diamandis dropped the “and the Diamonds” from her nom de plume and emerged as just “Marina”. After a four year, self-imposed absence- a period of time when she contemplated whether she still wanted to pursue musical endeavors- Ms. Diamandis emerged with new music a new identity: herself. And her fans welcomed it with open arms.
Love + Fear is an album that still has the familiar dance-pop sonics that is prevalent in her prior outings, but it feels more self-assured and confident, perhaps less campy, than earlier works. It is a 2 disc album that focuses on the themes of … well … “love” and “fear. Disc one is imbued with positive themes and sentiments, especially with songs like “Enjoy Your Life”, while disc two delves deeper into heartache and contemplative themes. After all, she concludes the set with “Soft to be Strong” singing:
It’s only fear in disguise
The truth is you have to be soft to be strong
Finally, I feel the fear is gone
I found out love has to be soft to be strong
Soft to be strong”
Marina brought her Love + Fear Tour to The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and her fans came out in droves to bear witness to her musical rebirth.
Opening for Marina was Allie X, an independent artist who knows a thing or two about changing things up. Each time I have seen Allie X perform, this “goth-pop” artist is always revamping and experimenting with her style and image. Her music is also ever-changing, and her latest single, “Fresh Laundry”, shows her exploring a more minimalist approach to music. It’s still a lush sound, but a lot of the electronics sonics, like that which can be found her hit singles like “Paper Love” is noticeably toned down.
Each time I’ve seen Allie X perform live, she’s always been dressed to the nines in an extravagant ensemble. For this performance, however, her outward appearance seemed toned down, wearing her hair down naturally and wearing a plaid smock dress and women’s oxfords. Her music, however, was anything but toned down.
After opening her performance with her hit “Bitch” she proceeds to perform a fierce song that I hadn’t heard before. She introduced herself to the audience after that second song, expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to open for Marina, and qualified her introduction by saying that she wasn’t going to talk much because she wanted to perform a bunch of new music. She performed known pieces like “Paper Love”, “Fresh Laundry,” “Science” and conclude her set with “Casanova”, but there were at least three more “new” songs that she graced the audience with, and she slew with each of them.
The four years off has obviously not affected Marina’s ability to put on one hell of a show. Not only did the tone of her voice sound pristine, but she beamed serious sunshiny energy from the stage with every note, and every choreographed movement on stage, whether by herself or accompanied by her four dancers.
It was a playful performance, with the playfulness literally stitched onto her chest, she was wearing a new corset that had a silk print of her cats on it, which she claims actually caused her to “shed a tear” per her Instagram account. Her smile was a permanent fixture throughout her 20 song set as she went through the “love” and “fear” themes central to her new album. She didn’t limit her song selections to the new album, however, and made sure she appeased her loyal day-ones’ appetites with her popular songs “Primadonna”, “Oh No!”, “I Am Not A Robot” and many more.
Perhaps the most sublime moments of the evening were when Marina performed two songs solo at the keyboard: “Teen Idle” and “I’m Not Hungry Anymore”. Those two songs really gave the evening a sense of emotional gravitas, as their “stripped down” performance really allowed Marina to truly let her emotions flow. Had the rhythmic barrage of the “Teen Idles” recording been incorporated into this performance, I think it would have made its performance less impactful.
For her encore, she performed the last song off of the “Love” side of her album, “End of the World”. I almost expected that she would somehow mash-up “End of the World” with “Soft to be Strong”, as that would have been a pretty impactful way to conclude her Love + Fear tour performance, plus I personally think that the lyrical of “End of The World” resonate with the lyrics I posted above for “Soft to be Strong”
“We’re all living in the same universe
Where the stars collide as the planets turn
But I’ll give my love, I don’t care if it hurts
‘Cause I’ll love you ’till the end”
Rather, Marina finished up her Los Angeles “homecoming” show with her huge Marina and the Diamonds hit “How To Be Heartbreaker”, which got the entire sold-out audience dancing in the aisles again to close out the night. It was an electric performance that was bright, and bold and undeniably encapsulated the evening as a whole. Marina may have dropped the “and the Diamonds”, but she, like her performance, still shines like one.