Live DC: Marina And The Diamonds @ 930 Club
Rob Brulinski | Sep 8, 2010 | 9:00AM |

all words: Robb Scott
all amazing photos: Jeff Martin

Entering the show, I was expecting much of the same glam-rock/glitter pop that is Marina and the Diamonds… Can’t imagine where I may have gotten that idea from. Instead, I was presented with an unfortunate attempt at grunge and a failed stage performance. Echoing the sentiments of other fans around me, Marina, in her black velvet and disheveled hair, resembled more Lady Gaga a la ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich‘ than wood nymph with a beautiful voice.


The opener, Young The Giant, provided a very ‘spirited’ performance. Frontman Sameer Gadhia took the reins and kept things comical–jiving, bumping, and taking swigs from his bottle of beer between songs. I have to make note that the guy sure does know his way around a tambourine, not to mention a gourd maraca. Although the quintet wasn’t bad–they actually provided a pretty solid set–they did little to make themselves memorable. The melodies they produced were akin to many of the acts seen pre-Vampire Weekend (i.e. Rooney, The Killers, The Raconteurs). Music moves forward, and the Newport Beach crew seemed a bit left behind. Despite the assertion, I highly suggest downloading their tracks “12 Fingers” and “Street Walker.”

When Marina took the stage, the initial reaction of many, myself included, was “Oh, I didn’t realize I’d bought tickets to a Monster Ball pre-party.” The woman before us resembled little of what the Marina from her album art and videos would have us come to believe. Chalk it up to a search for artist identity, or just a ill-consulted choice in wardrobe, but those ink black lips let me very confused.


The audience, though singing along and bopping to the beats, didn’t reach the level of excitement usually felt during shows at 930 Club. Despite Marina and her band’s numerous acts of desperation to instill some sort of excitement from the crowd, the audience remained mostly contained. It all felt much like a band performing a high school prom–people awkwardly dancing, out of politeness (or because of the booze), not for the sake of the music.


Marina as a talent is quite exceptional, however her stage presence came off as simply regurgitated elements of other acts (Evanescence, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha–yes, I went there). To her credit, if her music reflected the toughness, though forced, and grit that she performed with on stage, I would bite my tongue, but this just isn’t the case. Marina, you left me feeling as if I stepped from a Pretty Reckless show, not a good look.


The highlight of the show, I use that word lightly, was Marina showcasing her piano playing talent. Her delicate voice truly does shine when not bogged down by the intense instrumentation. If only she didn’t make attempts at Gaga-esque pianogasms; the throat screams don’t really work for her. Marina’s cover of 3OH!3’s ‘Starstruckk‘ was interesting; something about hearing her sing “Tight Jeans, Double Ds make your meat go…” was, honestly, hilariously awkward.

Better luck next time Marina Diamandis; a bit of advice from a disappointed fan… focus on the music, too much focus on being edgy leaves you looking carbon copied and unoriginal.

MarinaforBYT-02 MarinaforBYT-03 MarinaforBYT-06 MarinaforBYT-07 MarinaforBYT-09 MarinaforBYT-10 MarinaforBYT-11 MarinaforBYT-12 MarinaforBYT-13 MarinaforBYT-14 MarinaforBYT-15 MarinaforBYT-16 MarinaforBYT-17 MarinaforBYT-18 MarinaforBYT-19 MarinaforBYT-20 MarinaforBYT-21 MarinaforBYT-22 MarinaforBYT-23 MarinaforBYT-24 MarinaforBYT-25 MarinaforBYT-26 MarinaforBYT-27 MarinaforBYT-28 MarinaforBYT-29 MarinaforBYT-30

Recent Comments:
  • Jeff Martin says:

    Unoriginal? She used foam hamburgers as stage props COME ON

  • Makaveli says:

    When an act is “similar” to other artists (such as lady gaga) it is bad. But when lady gaga does it, it is good?

    Double standards

  • Amanda says:

    While I missed the first band, and I don’t think that this was her best performance, this write-up left a lot out.

    Anyway, when I saw Marina at SXSW she completely blew me away. She had the presence and the talent and charm. Monday night’s show wasn’t completely lackluster on her part. It was uncomfortable for everyone. The majority of the people on the balcony were sitting and the people on the floor were more concerned with the fact that other people were touching them than the music. There was little energy from the crowd to work with, and she is the type of artist that needs that energy to work with. All of awkward attempts to get some response from the crowd were met halfheartedly – the clapping (everyone was off), the jumping (only the front of the floor hopped briefly).

    While I knew that she had a huge gay following, I didn’t anticipate the youngsters. And there were a lot of them, with their parents – and let’s be frank, when parents make up a notable percentage of any crowd at a show it’s going to put a damper on things. There was one girl sitting pretty between her parents on the balcony nearest the stage on the right side – as the evening progressed her mother seemed to grow more anxious, her father bored and the girl seemed uncomfortable.

    I did appreciate the enthusiastic sing-alongs during ‘I am not a Robot,’ ‘Hollywood’ and later during the encore, ‘Mowgli’s Road.’ And the girl standing next to me singing a little too loudly through the entire set. The set itself was oddly chosen, she opened with ‘Outsider’ and I thought she should have waited a couple more songs for ‘Robot’ – it was fourth. ‘Rootless’ – a track that I usually skip on the album, was still not my favorite but they did add more organ that added a certain dimension that is missing on the album version. She proceeded to leave the stage while her band played an extended intro while she changed into her all-American gear for ‘Hollywood.’

    The costume change was a bit ridiculous – not because of what she was wearing, she manages to look fabulous and comfortable in everything she wears – it was just not something that I am used to at the 9:30 Club and seemed kind of pretentious.

    I thought it was interesting (as mentioned in Ryma’s lovely interview) that her label has insisted on her including covers in her sets. She closed the main set with ‘Guilty’ – again an odd choice to close, before coming back for the encore when she sang that awful 3Oh3! song. While I did enjoy her cover, taking just about any top 40 song and deconstructing it usually turns out better than the original, but when sung amongst songs that have feminism included in the message it just seemed an odd choice.

    I don’t think she’s another Ke$ha or Lady Gaga. She’s simpler than that. She, if anything, is a child playing dress up that happens to have an oddly mature voice. She has the body of a bombshell but has no idea how to really exude sensuality, at least not consciously. What she does is young and awkward and in a way stunted. Though this is just the beginning.

  • Bradley says:

    Ouch, Robb. But apparently warranted?

  • J. Vu says:

    Really awesome photos, Jeff!

  • matt says:

    the show was pretty good. and marina rocks in general. fin.