“Damn all those people who don’t lose control,” sang the English singer-songwriter Laura Marling on what she said was a new song on Tuesday night in Chicago.
Besides a story about buying a pocket guide to Chicago architecture and a quick aside — “I love this town” — Marling didn’t break much from her icy cool.
Her set was an accomplished mix of classic English folk reminiscent of International String Band and Fairport Convention as well as the ‘70s Laurel Canyon sound more present on 2011’s A Creature I Don’t Know. Sometimes, her versatile five-piece band helped her veer into the funky acoustic territory of Led Zeppelin III.
Next to her black retro Nike sneakers and black dress, Marling’s blonde hair was like white lightning on an otherwise darkened stage.
She let the band take a break and played several songs solo, showing off some of her right hand dexterity on acoustic guitar.
A solo acoustic version of “Goodbye England” showed Marling’s strengths best: wistful lyricism, her high lonesome voice, and a way of keeping the audience in the palm of her hand.