Sunday 4 February 2024

Live Review: Etta Marcus, Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff 1 February 2024

Opening with Snowflake Suzie, taken from the recently released mini album, it didn't take long for London's Etta Marcus to quickly settle in to the intimate surroundings at Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach as the room, packed out front to back in eager anticipation, clung to every word.

In the midst of winter, with dark nights and cold evenings all but to look forward to, her music is a much needed layer of warmth in its heavy, saddened aesthetic, but nestled within all of its self loathing brilliance is a rousing energy, delivered live with pin point accuracy. 

From Mechanical Bull's country twangs that sees Marcus change up her delivery as the lyrics document an attempt to break out of a monotonous lifestyle, to the fluttering Crown with its fancy hi-hat work and enveloped guitar layering, the band's musicianship and seamless coordination remained on point throughout.

As the evening developed, Etta effortlessly weaved through a diverse repertoire, showcasing her versatility as an artist. Standout moments included some of her older material including Hide & Seek and Salt Lake City, whilst the softened Skin Parade came with a blisteringly powerful Mazzy Star Cover outro. 

From the first chord to the final encore, the energy never faltered and with a crowd so attentive, it made for an all the more beautiful rendition of Fruit Flies with not even the crackle of a plastic pint cup to distract you from her effortless vocal control. 

Rejoined by the band for the towering Theatre, as the final notes echoed through the venue, fans could leave with the warm fuzzy feeling of being part of something very special with an unforgettable performance that exceeded expectations. And as her catalogue grows things will only continue on this trajectory from here on out. 


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