By: Curtis Sindrey (@SindreyCurtis) –
“I feel like this is a dream”, said Marina and the Diamonds front woman Marina Diamandis during her performance last night at Toronto’s Echo Beach, and the 3,500 fans felt the same way as they screamed through the Diamonds’ 18 song set-list in the rain that fell throughout the night, which made the beach setting less than ideal.
Since performing at Kool Haus last December, not much has changed for Marina and the Diamonds. With the same stage props and outfits, it was Diamandis’ seductiveness and youthful energy that made everyone forget the terrible weather that befell them. Walking onto the stage in what looked like a modern reimagining of Jackie O’s infamous dress that she wore during the JFK assassination, the night was full of costume changes (ball gowns to a sash that read ‘Teen Idle.’), which only bolstered her personal caricature as she danced around with a rather tall male mannequin and teased the inanimate object as if he was getting his own private performance.
From playing songs from her newest LP Electra Heart, including “Bubblegum Bitch”, “Primadonna” and an intimate sounding rendition of “Teen Idol”, which featured Diamandis, alone on her piano, to older tracks like “I Am Not a Robot”, “Shampain”, and “Mowgli’s Road” from her 2010 debut album The Family Jewels.
While she sings about being a heartbreaker, Diamandis also took on some seriousness throughout her set with tracks like “Fear and Loathing”, which strikes upon her preoccupation with mortality and death, which serves as a stark contrast to her bubble-pop approved themes on the rest of the record, and “Starring Role”, which she sings candidly about the lack of emotional intimacy with the line,”the only time you open up is when we get undressed,” and it’s with Diamandis’ soaring vocals on the chorus that you can feel the genuine emotions oozing out of every note.
Budding U.K. export Charli XCX, who released her debut album, True Romance, on April 12, opened the show with the ultra catchy “You’re The One”, which will grow on you over time and talks about the often treaded territory of young love, but with the combination to moody 80s-influenced synths and the romantic chorus that sounds like a 90s b-side, in all good ways.
Donning a simple, yet elegant knee-high skirt, and a camo-coloured half shirt, Charli soon had the high school and younger-type crowd in the palm of her hand. She maintains her image and the characters she writes about her in songs as strong, independent young women, which while they can have occasional vindictive episodes, they are still experiencing the often-overwhelming world of the twentysomething.
On the surface, Charli XCX and Marina’s music is fun, poppy and may not be what you’re used to on the first listen. But as you go deeper, you’ll find out that these young musicians have a lot more to talk about than their latest breakup.