Live Review: Marika Hackman - O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London 23/11/17

Like the thankful sweetheart she is, Marika Hackman took the stage in disbelief. Her beaming smile shone throughout the venue, which only seemed to glow back at her by the humbled audience. The Hampshire-born-25-year-old has emerged as a fully formed velvet voiced singer-songwriter, whose talent flooded the stage at Shepherds Bush. Her live shows truly add a ray of light when regarding delicate, atmospheric acoustic tunes merged with sultry swagger.

With support from Our Girl and Goat Girl, the success of hyping the crowd was very clear. Soon Hackman appears followed by her band. Starting off with cheeky raucous ‘Good Intentions’ the room seems to fill with warmth. The distorted guitars sends an unexpected shake to everyone, kicking the evening into high fun and spirit. Most of her repertoire is from newest album ‘I’m Not Your Man’ with ‘Eastbound Train’ and ‘My Lover Cindy’ taking the lead. These joyous tracks reek of confidence and empowerment. Snarling ‘My Lover Cindy’ sees Hackman’s sweet yet rigid delivery float atop guitar riffs with the crowd mouthing each lyric.

A blast from the past appears when ‘Ophelia’ from ‘We Slept At Last’ unfurls from a captivating ditty into a folktronica piece. The melody in this is so stark, making it utterly mesmerising to watch. Retuning back to other songs from ‘I’m Not Your Man’, shoegazey swirling ‘Gina’s World’ and emotionless ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ are included. Guitar pop masterpiece ‘Boyfriend’ bursts fresh energy, bundled with sass and female empowerment.“I’ve got your boyfriend on my mind/ I think he knows you stayed with me last night” she croons, questioning sexual identity alongside growling guitars. Complete with snippets of laughter and squeals, this track certainly delivers a sarcastic side with the gathering ahead of her mimicking along.

After the brief encore, Marika emerges alone adorned in angel wings. With only an acoustic guitar ‘Cigarette’ creates an intimate atmosphere accompanied by complete silence. Coming across as being more of a reflective and calm song, it notably resembles her signature mellow sound. Endlessly thanking the crowd, ’Blahblahblah’ finishes the show off with the appearance of a beautiful disco ball above. We all sway as the band on stage jump for side to side, and Marika swishing her long hair about viciously. “See you all soon!” she grins.

Marika Hackman - Shepherds Bush - 23/11/17 - London

Review and Photography by Lauren McDermott