Monday, May 11. It’s the hottest day of 2015 so far and today I’m spending my first day on Les Nuits Botanique, 2015 edition. I couldn’t have been more excited about who I am seeing this night: Marina & The Diamonds. First time I ever saw her live was in 2010, and now -five years and 3 shows later- I am finally seeing her again, curious about how much she grew since previous album Electra Heart. Cause that’s right, she’s back with a whole new record: Froot.
First on the menu tonight is an artist I struggle to pronounce: Dj Flugvél Og Geimskip. It’s Icelandic for ‘DJ Airplane and Spaceship’, and her act is as crazy and unique as her artist name. The girl on stage looks like the little sister of Björk and brightened up her keyboard and drum pads with golden ribbons and a little stuffed animal (that apparently graduated as a dancer in high school).
Her set starts with ‘a song about evil cats‘ and before I even realize what is happening, the crowd is meowing like mad felines along with random sounding beats. Every song has its own little tale and most of them involve words with an ‘s’. Or that’s what sticking to the head as the pronunciation of this Icelandic girl is pretty cute. “This is a shhong about shhnakes on shhips in shhpace.” Maybe a little shhpace cake was involved too?
To sum up this set of Dj Flugvél Og Geimskip: lots of crazy, pretty sick beats, some false tones but easily forgotten about as you’re pretty mind blown after her set is done. I would go see her again, just to see if next time will make me as speechless as it did today.
Time to get back to real life. Next up is an artist born and bred in Belgium, but started to develop her talent elsewhere. Alice On The Roof.
She studied in Oregon, had a piano education and returned to the home country back in 2013. That’s when she started working on her own songs, and man what a good decision that was. With only a handful of songs, the 20 years old Alice braves the stage accompanied by two band members. With her hoarse, sweet voice that reminds me of French artist SoKo, she brings out a powerful set with catchy melodies. For example, one that seriously sticks to the ears is ‘Easy Come Easy Go‘. So catchy. Pleasant alternation in her set is a cover of another booming Belgian band: ‘Princes’ by Oscar and The Wolf. Less pleasant is her stripped down cover of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’. Maybe stick to the Belgian covers, Alice?
Overall, this performance of Alice On The Roof is on point. The crowd is pretty pleased with what it’s hearing, and accompanied Alice in singing lots of ‘oohs’ at the end of her set. She has an amazing voice and I’m pretty sure she will own a couple charts in the future with a potential first record.
Meanwhile, the tent and heads of everyone present are feeling pretty hot, ready for the main course of the night. Marina & The Diamonds, a queen on stage but also a queen in postponing shows, especially for Belgium. The last time we were able to see her shine on a local stage was back in 2010, as her 2 shows of previous Lonely Hearts Tour were postponed twice, to be eventually canceled. Serious bummer. But now, she is finally back and that with a third album in her pocket. Me and all the present fan girls and boys are ready.
We start the party with ‘Bubble Gum Bitch‘ and get to see a stunning Marina, looks on point. Seriously, are these abs I’m spotting? A fancy ‘Froot’ sign adorns her head and brings us to the second song of the similarly named new album. ‘Forget‘ proves that the present crowd did not forget about Marina after all these years and is well familiar with the new record. Also ‘Froot‘, ‘Happy‘ ‘Blue‘ and ‘Can’t Pin Me Down‘ from the new record are sent into our direction. Though this set is a perfect mixture of Marina’s 3 records. We are treated with some olden goldies from The Family Jewels: ‘Mowgli’s Road‘, ‘I Am Not A Robot‘, personal favorite ‘Hollywood‘ and a beautiful piano version of ‘Obsessions‘. Songs from Electra Heart are responsible for making the place explode, especially ‘Primadonna‘ and ‘Radioactive‘ are doing a great job on that part.
I am pretty delighted with how much she has grown over the years. She left the dozen clothing switches in the past because she honestly doesn’t need the extravaganza anymore to impress. Next to that, it’s amazing to hear how vocally strong she has grown. Her voice is unique as it is, and on top of that there isn’t a single false note coming our way. That in combination with fascinating arm movements brings this show close to perfection.
And we aren’t the only ones that are in ecstatic conditions: Marina herself seems to be very pleased about being back and announces that she will return for us in November, as she’s currently planning her Neon Nature Tour. I know where I will be in November.
It’s the hottest day of 2015 so far, and Marina & The Diamonds is responsible for that.