Review: Marina and the Diamonds at The Olympia on the 17th of October

With a name like Marina Lambrini Diamandis, you are only ever destined for one of two things; grow up and become a promo girl for lightly sparkling Lambrini wine or, of course, start a musical journey and rename yourself as Marina and the Diamonds. For the sake of the warm surroundings, I’m glad she chose the latter of the two options. Diamandis came to Dublin’s Olympia Theatre for what she said would be the last of her ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ concerts. The pleasure was all hers I can assure you.

The stage was decked out with elaborate furnishings and props (which we’ll get in to a little later) with two towering fluorescent lights above the stage; one reading ‘Lonely Hearts Club’, Dublin’ and the other reading ‘Electra Heart’. Electra Heart being the alter ego that Diamandis has adorned herself with for the purposes of her newest album. This change in character has seen the transvestite cyborg autobot from album one transform into a bubblegum Dita Von Teese that happens to be sleeping with a choreographer who is moonlighting as a dubstep producer. It’s all very complicated, so I’ll explain.

From the very outset, opening with Homewrecker, Marina storms the stage with a military precision, decked out in an elaborate veil. The purpose of which is mumbled and jumbled in her new-found Electra Heart persona. She glides through the song with quite obviously choreographed moves that have been perfected over the last few months of touring. Of course, pop concerts are no stranger to a few hippity-hop-hop dance moves, but when every sentence turns into a mime show, things can become quite tedious.

Oh No! and Lies come and go with more clichés and dance-laden moves from Diamandis. The crowd take a while to warm to the singer despite the onslaught of dark and gloomy dubstep beats booming over the Olympia air; her crowd interaction also remains short and light. I Am Not A Robot sees Diamandis revert back to the full cyborg nature of the first album and finally showcases the voice everyone knows she possesses. The peculiar voice that dips from high to low ever so nonchalantly reminds us how the public first came to be interested in Marina herself. A welcome break from the silly and tiring visual antics.

Unfortunately, this would not last as Marina would exit the stage to an unbelievably bored band (bar the drummer), who loop a riff in her absence. She returns in an identical dress, but wait for it, this one’s pink – wow! The songs that follow see Diamandis sprawl herself over a chaise lounge, drink from an empty cocktail glass and tell a very weak anecdote about a stuffed dog toy on stage. She also makes a big deal of  rocking various sunglasses, head pieces and multiple sashes for very little reason.  Primadonna comes just before the crowds brain explodes with twee and once again reminds the crowd why this lady holds so much promise. As befits a huge selling single in Ireland, the crowd go buck-twee-wild for the smash hit number one single.

For all the sets overload of bass-ridden beats and Billy Barry dance moves, there shines a light of pop star gold. Marina has something special about her, and when she hits the right notes or says the right things, it works, and it works well. The only problem is that it is lost amongst the bonkers stage show, props and dance moves. Songs like Shampain, Radioactive and encore and night finisher Heartbreaker works oh so well. As the gig went on, her genuine delight at performing in Dublin was felt by the crowd who returned the love with warm adulation – her big fans quite clearly lapping every inflection and gimmick up.

She must be doing something right as she is already set to return to The Olympia on the 20th of November for what we will be the start of her tour of America and beyond. Expect to see all sorts of new gimmicks and dance moves then. Unfortunately, this the last of her Lonely Hearts Club concerts – for all its bravado and large production can only be summed up by the name of a Shakespeare play: ‘Much ado about nothing’.

Marina & The Diamonds Photo Gallery

Photos: Kieran Frost