Concert Review: Valley Queen, Laura Marling, May 10, Danforth Music Hall

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During their show at the Danforth Music Hall, LA’s Valley Queen made it clear that they were happy to be playing Toronto with singer Natalie Carol noting that not only was this their first time in the city, but that they were playing their first Canadian shows ever as part of their tour with Laura Marling. As a nod to Canada, the band played their cover of Destroyer’s “Painter in Your Pocket.” “I feel like I have an ongoing musical romantic relationship with that dude,” said Carol of Destoyer’s Dan Bejar. “He doesn’t know who I am – that’s fine.”

Valley Queen played an entertaining set of rootsy rock anchored by Carol’s voice, which is somewhat reminiscent of Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan, but without the rasp. Along with the Destroyer cover, one of the more memorable parts of their set was not a song, but a moment near the end of their set when the drummer took out his phone and facetimed with his wife to celebrate their anniversary.

Following them was headliner Laura Marling, who introduced herself with a very unassuming “Hello, my name’s Laura,” as if anybody in attendance didn’t know who she was. Marling and her band performed a typically impressive set made up largely of songs from her latest Semper Femina. Highlights included a solo acoustic mini-set that featured her cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “For the Sake of the Song” and a segment Marling called “band facts,” wherein she introduced the band and had each one state a fact (or tell a joke) such as the fact that humans share 50% of DNA with bananas or that Toronto is the raccoon capital of the world. For her part, Marling had no facts to share, though she did later give a shout out to Toronto, noting that her favourite author, Robertson Davies, once taught at the University of Toronto. She also congratulated us all on having a “fit” Prime Minister and closed out her set with an excellent version of “Rambling Man” off of 2010’s I Speak Because I Can. Before playing that one, Marling informed the crowd that she doesn’t do encores, which may have come as a surprise to those who’d never seen her before, but really, there’s no need for an encore when you end things on such a strong note.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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