Marika Hackman is the kind of musician that anyone, regardless of music taste or genre preferences, should see at least once. With her signature deadpan humour and scowling, unassuming delivery, the bona fide rockstar has an effortless ability to transform a rainy Tuesday evening into a memorable party. Slurring her genius lyrics with a candid carnality, the twenty-something front-woman should be considered an icon.
With ethereal support from Art School Girlfriend, this affair at Brudenell Social Club was guaranteed to be an unmissable night.
The room filled as the quiet yet attentive crowd were magnetised from the smoking area by Art School Girlfriend’s captivatingly warm dark-pop tracks. The multi-instrumentalist swapped guitar for bass in between each song, exhibiting an effortless dexterity and musicianship. “This is a new one”, mumbles front-woman Polly Mackey, before blanketing the room with her signature sonic soundscapes. “I thought I was alright / But then I saw you in low light” croons Mackey with melting cadence. Closing with glistening track ‘Moon’, the crowd were easily hypnotised by the repetitive synth motive and Mackey’s soft hums.
Marika Hackman skipped onto the stage alone, giving a candid wave before picking up her acoustic guitar. The room was silent for her solo performance of ‘Wanderlust’, the seductive opener of her recent album Any Human Friend. Delicate melodies told tales of heartbreak over minimal guitar plucks, before a bewitching crescendo crept up and raised hairs throughout the room. Instantly sedated, voices within the broke as they cheered and welcomed the rest of Hackman’s band to the stage. Bouncing into ‘I’m Where You Are’, Hackman revived the crowd with her scuzzy guitar riffs and tight synth hooks.
Marika Hackman has evolved numerously since her embryonic Sugar Blind EP days. Nonchalantly flaunting her musical dexterity and naturally charming stage presence, Hackman enamoured the room with her candid humour. “Is someone here drinking Bailey’s with Lambrini?” she questions with an amused yet slightly concerned smile. “I see everything.”
Despite admitting that she had to keep checking the sleeve of her boiler suit - because that’s where she’d written her setlist (upside-down) - it was clear that the tight band were expertly orchestrated. Bouncing through her grungier, blunter libidinous bangers and floating through more vulnerable, soft tracks, Hackman effortlessly see-sawed through her eclectic discography. Closing with hit single ‘Boyfriend’ from her 2017 album I’m Not Your Man, Hackman exhibited this signature ability to sedate a crowd with soft and witty vocal lilts before injecting a hit of grunge infused adrenaline with the chorus.
Teasing the crowd before coming back for an encore, Hackman returned to the stage to give a solo performance of gently smouldering track ‘Cigarette’. With melodies delicately cascading like wisps of smoke, the audience was once again completely sedated and infatuated. It was clear that no one wanted to go home as they over-indulged in Hackman’s charm. As she departed the stage, the breathless crowd pined for more despite their satisfaction.
Words and Images by Meg Firth (@megfirthphoto)