Concert Reviews

Last Night: Marina & The Diamonds, Ishi at the Granada Theater

Marina and The Diamonds, Ishi
Granada Theater
April 14, 2011

Better than:
seeing Marina and the Diamonds a year from now, after touring with Katy Perry, when she's playing to sold-out venues.

"I've never been here before" Marina Diamandis, the mastermind behind Marina & The Diamonds announced to her crowd at the Granada Theater last night.

And she wasn''t just referring to the venue; last night was her first time performing in Dallas. Only a couple of days ago, she played Austin and Houston for the first time as well.

"Can I get a drink?" she asked the crowd.

One of her band members then passed her a bottle of water.

"No, a real drink..."

She squealed.

"A vodka!"

An adoring fan then extended his arm towards her with cup full of whatever he was drinking. She took a gulp.

"Well," she said with a giggle, before taking another sip from the clear plastic cup and launching into "Jealousy," her new single, "this has turned into an informal affair."

After a lively rendition of the saccharine, catchy song, Diamandis announced that she was going to take off her shoes -- they were "annoying her." So, she hobbled around the stage with one shoe on, the other off, all the while asking for another proper drink.

Then she disappeared, exiting the stage though the back curtain, only to appear again moments later wearing a rather adorable pink plastic street-walker dress. She was like Gwen Stefani meets Marlene Dietrich, with maybe a little Morticia Addams thrown in, with a bow in her hair and some gold glittery platform shoes, shimmering around her feet.

And perhaps she found a drink off-stage, too. Because, when she returned, she dazzled the crowd with "I Am Not A Robot," off of her 2010 full-length debut, The Family Jewels. Virtually everybody knew all the words to the uplifting tune. And it felt like Gaga's "Born This Way" -- except less in-your-face, and more sincere.

Actually, most of Marina's set embodied a positive, feel-good vibe. And, yes, it recalled Gaga plenty. But Diamandis was able to elicit a similar response without the gimmicks that Gaga incorporated on her recent stop through Dallas.

The budding pop star made sure to play fan favorites "Oh No!" and "Shampain" before ending the evening with her homage to American pop culture, "Hollywood" while wearing a sequined, American flag jumpsuit, belting "I'm obsessed with the mess that's America" into the mic.

Minus a couple of f-bombs, it was a relatively wholesome evening.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I have a sweet tooth for alt-pop stars.

By The Way: It's not that local opening act Ishi haven't always had an air of confidence, but last night the band seemed particularly polished. I've seen them a bazillion times before, but last night was probably the best they've ever been.

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Catherine Downes
Contact: Catherine Downes