A Celtic Connections gig which wasn’t very Celtic or very connected to anything, but excellent nontheless.
The support act were a bit precious for BM’s tastes so they are not named here, no offence guys…
So Helen Marnie, aka Marnie, has been doing solo stuff back in her original hometown of Glasgow for a few years now and gigging around a bit. BM had been waiting for an opportunity to witness Marnie in action for a while, being a fan of Ladytron (on indefinite hiatus?) and having heard very good things about the live gigs.
As the venue filled up (it was rammed) it was a pleasant surprise to see Sarah J Stanley (aka HQFU) setting up kit, and sure enough she was providing keyboards, guitar and backing vocals while the drummer was wedged into the back bit of the stage (at Hug and Pint it helps if the drummer is a contortionist). Marnie herself, resplendent in hotpants and a blonde hairdo (or wig?) took the lead vocals and did some keyboard playing as well.
Songs came mainly from solo album of 2017 (and itm? poll-topper) ‘Strange Words and Weird Wars’ although there were a couple from first album ‘The Hunter’. The overall sound (and with these very distinctive vocals) was definitely a relative (cousin?) to Ladytron’s sleek electronic stylings, but there were hints of Fever Ray and even The Pet Shop Boys.
Beginning with ‘The Hunter’ and including current single ‘GIRLS’, the vocals are breathy but strident.
Helen Marnie is charismatic, and then some. The slightly ice maiden persona is broken with “First time playing the Hug and Pint, it’s really nice!”.
The tracks come thick and fast, Sarah plays some extraordinary guitar riffs and solos in between the keyboards, and the overall sound is huge, too big really for this venue but it holds up ok.
There could have been more dancing but there just wasn’t much room! ‘Electric Youth’, introduced as her “most 80s-sounding track” was epic and although there is no encore, some pure pop dust has been spread around tonight.