Laura Marling, Camden Barfly, London

4.00

She's speaking loud and clear

Two years ago, Laura Marling was often pigeonholed as the inheritor of Lily Allen's or Kate Nash's style of kitchen-sink pop.

Now, playing an intimate gig to a packed-out Camden Barfly and with the release of her second album, I Speak Because I Can, the new-folk starlet has become quite possibly the nation's most promising singer-songwriter talent. The early indie-pop hype never quite rang true. Marling was never an Allen-esque character, singing ironic ditties in a mockney accent. Rather, she's always been a challenging antidote to indie-pop and has now become the jewel in the British folk scene's crown, one increasingly reminiscent of classic Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush.

Once so painfully shy she avoided eye contact at gigs, the Hampshire-born songwriter still displays an innocence and fragility on stage, but is now more assured, flicking her hair and joking easily with the buzzing north London crowd of new folkies and trendy hipsters lucky enough to snare tickets for this tiny performance.

Apologising for her lateness – no one seems to mind despite the venue's Hades-like temperature – Marling launches into a romp through "Devil's Spoke", the first track from her new album. Lifting notes from Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" it's powerful and aggressive at times, backed by powerful drums, bass, cello and keyboards, illustrating how far Marling has come from lyrical newcomer to accomplished artist. "Hope in the Air" also from her new album, is classic Marling again – trance-like and poetic as she offers subtle melodies and delicate vocals in contrast with the belted tunes "Devil's Spoke" and "Rambling Man". Tracks from her new album dominate the set, which includes two totally new tracks ("Rest in Bed" and "My Dear Friends") presumably from her forthcoming third album, scheduled for release later this year. Her new album's first single, "Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)", a beautifully told tale of a winter walk with her father, is disappointing live though, as she momentarily reverts to her less assured self and looks to the floor.

Delivered in her fuller, stronger voice, "Ghosts", one of the few crowd-pleasers performed from her Mercury prize-nominated album, Alas I Cannot Swim, brings a big cheer, before the band step aside for a clutch of solo tracks.

It's easy to forget that Marling is barely out of her teens and a rookie error – forgetting the lyrics midway through "Failure" – could have been disastrous if not for her bashful charm keeping her fans on board. "I got as far as making up new lyrics there, that's bad. Anyway, you get the gist," she says cutting the track off abruptly. Her fans giggle with her, her humour infectious; her ever more assured vocals and gently plucked melodies addictive. She is forgiven and her sin forgotten. As the band step back on stage, Marling relaxes, and offers an angry stream of consciousness in "Alpha Shallows", the most intense song on her new record. Her voice husky and beguiling, more assured than her earlier teenage days, as she positively screams out her infectious verses, before intense bass comes to the fore.

My companion, a long-time Marling follower, seems to think she still has more to give and could have worked the crowd harder. He's right and Marling undoubtedly has more to offer in the years to come. But it's clear she's no pop flash-in-the-pan destined for daytime radio or sampling on mobile broadband television adverts and that's why her fans adore her. As she closes with the Nick Drake-esque "I Speak Because I Can", which in part tells the tales of Ulysses and Penelope, she leaves the crowd transfixed, half shouting for joy, half fighting back the tears.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine