Gary Flockhart: Wilson and Marling - two treats

Laura Marling. Pic: Comp
Laura Marling. Pic: Comp
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THE other week, I was reading an article about how BBC talent show The Voice is still to find a bona fide superstar.

Waiting for the headline act to take to the stage at a packed Usher Hall on Tuesday night, I was mulling this over when it dawned on me - there HAS been a big winner on The Voice, and he’s the lead singer of Kaiser Chiefs.

Indeed, Ricky Wilson’s band were in free-fall before he signed up to join the mentoring team on The Voice last year - but just a couple of months later, the Kaisers were celebrating their first No1 album since 2007.

Not that I begrudge them their Lazarus-like resurgence - the Kaisers are a perfectly serviceable indie band, with some top tunes.

Wilson has always been a great showman and he was, as ever, full of beans in the Capital as the Leeds lads dusted off hits such as Oh My God, Modern Way, Ruby and, of course, the ubiquitous I Predict A Riot.

Now, it’s not that often you get two cracking gigs on consecutive nights round these parts - but this week we did.

On Wednesday, the mercurial talent that is Laura Marling dropped into The Caves, for what was her most intimate gig here since playing Bannerman’s at a fledgling point in her career in 2008.

These days, of course, Marling is lauded as one of the biggest talents of her generation - and rightly so.

She is a ridiculously good songwriter, and her voice is utterly flawless.

Much has been written about the folksinger’s decision to go electric on forthcoming album Short Movie, but, as the sardine-packed crowd at The Caves discovered, this isn’t quite the epochal Bob-Dylan-at-Newport-in-1965 moment in her career, as the majority of her new stuff is still folksy rock, albeit a lot heavier.

It’s an exciting new direction for Marling, and this week’s gig, during which she held the crowd spellbound, really whetted the appetite for that next album.