It’s a strong pop double header at the Olympia Theatre, with Allie X making her Irish debut in support of Marina, sans Diamonds.
Allie X has built a strongly devoted following across the globe, and it’s pleasure to hear her own choruses sung back to her (opening track Bitch is particularly jovial). Her eerie staging and erratic body movements are fitting for spooky season and make for compelling viewing. However, it’s nigh on impossible to hear her vocals on more than one occasion as the volume of her own band drowns her out. She’s not interested in talking much – a fact which she acknowledges – choosing to commit to the performance of her breakout hits Paper Love and Casanova. For new fans, it’s a decent taster, but the die-hards will have to wait until she’s back in Ireland on her own to get the full Allie X experience.
This is Marina’s first Irish show since 2015, re-energised after a lengthy hiatus that saw her drop her famous moniker. Her most recent double album, ‘Love + Fear’ divided fans and critics at the time of release – thankfully, in a live setting, the tracks get the space and context they deserve (the stunning contemporary choreography which accompanies them certainly helps).
Dipping in and out of her eras, bejewelled or otherwise, the appeal of Marina’s frothy brand of pop endures. Bubblegum Bitch, a fan favourite, looks and sounds like a fever dream as Marina dons her Electra Heart persona once again. She’s a playful vocalist, booming through Froot before an impactful, delicate rendition of Teen Idle. The quieter moments seen during the latter are where her magic is seen in full – naked vulnerability under fluorescent lights.
Marina’s influence is far reaching, from her artistry to her lyricism. It’s only seeing her in person does this become clear. At a time when many others’ stars are faded, Marina continues to pave the way for pop artists who successfully balance nuanced song-writing with pop sensibilities.