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Marika Hackman at Islington Assembly Hall - 26.09.19

Photo credit: Joost Vandebrug

Marika Hackman strolls onstage in a heavily decorated white boiler suit to a sold-out crowd. After a relaxed opening set from fellow female performer Art School Girlfriend, Hackman begins her set slowly, with an eerie yet mesmerising performance of ‘wanderlust’, the opening song from her recently released album ‘Any Human Friend’. Seemingly unfazed by the room of screaming teenagers, Hackman goes on to hit every note effortlessly, before inviting the rest of her band, also dressed in white boiler suits, onstage.

Hackman plays a well-balanced set of hits from all three of her most recent albums, including an adapted version of ‘Drown’, which she released as a single in 2014 and which appeared on her second album, ‘We Sleep at Last’, the following year. In contrast to the dark folk undertones that can be heard in ‘Drown’ on the album, the version that shatters through Islington Assembly Hall this Thursday night is almost unrecognisable, with a brand-new indie/rock feel to it, much like the songs on her two most recent albums.

Nearing the end of Hackman’s headline set, she steps away from the familiarity of playing her guitar as she sings ‘blow’, a song from her most recent album. As she dances centre stage, fans comically throw bras her way, one of which lands on her head so she is able to keep it hung over her mic stand for the remainder of the set. Moments like these really differentiate Hackman’s fanbase from that of other musicians; there is a strong sense of forward-thinking openness and love in the room throughout the night.

During the encore, Hackman begins alone before her band returns into the mix once again. The poignant lyrics of the ballad ‘send my love’ echo through the room, with Hackman’s clean-cut vocals piercing the hearts of her audience. As she sings, her emotional attachment to every word she’s written is clear for all to see. The mood is lifted again with the final song of the evening, ‘hand solo’. Introducing the song, sex-positive Hackman is sure to let the crowd know that “this is a song about masturbation”, going in line with the somewhat comical music video that was released for the song earlier that morning. Finishing with some rocking out and crazy shredding, Hackman makes sure to go out with a bang.

Catch her back in London on March 5th next year at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, for what I’m sure will be an even bigger show of positive energy and bra throwing.

Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor

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