Concert Reviews

Marina & The Diamonds at Sound Academy

Photographs by Sarah Rix.

Marina Diamandis graced Field Trip earlier this year, and her appropriately named “diamonds” (her fans, not her band) glistened in massive bunches to simply see her and no one else play. I had hoped that these fans stuck around to watch the other great acts that weekend (or, hell, that day even), but chances are they came for Marina herself. No matter, as she put on quite a fun show. But, there was something I could feel was missing a little bit. There was restraint. Yes, restraint; even with the gigantic blow up fruits and the crazy costumes. Marina Diamandis is an imagination guru who has always vividly dreamt her success. Maybe it’s her synesthesia or her travels as an aspiring musician that have painted her backdrops and her set pieces. Either way, she has always opened her mind. Lyrically, her work has been a bit more commentary based than the work of her fellow contemporary pop singers, with some songs on Froot diving into class systems, societal structures and even life and death themselves. 

Yes, it was a bit of a wait to see what was holding Maria Diamandis back, and it was simply the fact that Field Trip wasn’t hers. She was a guest, and an eager one at that, but this show at the Sound Academy had her name all over it. Her project, known as Marina and the Diamonds, incorporates the connection she has with her fan base, and this audience will surely grow whenever she comes to town. Whether you are a fan of hers or not, her live shows are quite a spectacle. The tour, titled the Neon Nature tour, is as authentically electric as the title suggests. Like Froot’s strength that makes it surpass her other albums, Diamandis has a maturity that she has been only quite keen on showing the world at any moment, and that’s something you could see in full in a small venue with her name as the headliner. Sure, she had a lot of fun and so did the crowd, but this is the setting where she becomes a rock star. While some other mainstream artists may use controversy to push themselves when they are given free reign, Diamandis uses dreams, and the result is both a terrific example for her fans (young and old) to look up to and an experience that is simply preeminent of most of those those within her league.

Diamandis waltzed through her career during this set. Sure, it’s still a young career with many years to go, but she has evolved enough to make this short time travel an effective one. With her singles and concert staples being played in an order that best showcases her growth, you were guaranteed to end the evening with a bang. There were video screens that captured each era and pasted her changing looks and styles each time she would dive into the next album, so each song was cemented in place within the timeline. Her earlier work is a lot of fun at times, but the show truly started to get special once the Froot songs started and Diamandis was able to show the crowd her vocal capabilities. Her booming voice is magnetic and silky live. It greatly contrasts her talking voice, which is quirky and bubbly. She would talk occasionally to make sure the crowd was doing okay and to say hello to as many people as she could, but her vocal delivery would quickly blow the roof off of the Sound Academy.

Above the televised screens, her band played amongst shifting images of stars. It was as though we were being transmitted through the universe. This, along with the loud and cartoonish images on the screens, was a gigantic thrust through technology and pop imagery. It’s the kind of worldly development Diamandis would implement through her music. She has a vision, and, boy, if she doesn’t try her damn best to get it passed on to everyone else at her shows. Her Neon Nature Tour is fun, riveting and a shock to your senses in clean spirit. When she has her way, Diamandis will put on a show that is pretty hard to frown upon. This tour, along with her latest album Froot, is the beacon of good things to come in Marina Diamandis’s career that she has dreamt about for years.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.