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Marika Hackman in London on Tuesday 6th March 2013

Despite the best efforts of a certain train company to ruin an evening before it began, we ran from Hoxton Station and made it to the Sebright Arms, just off the Hackney Rd, in time to see the final show of Marika Hackman’s mini UK tour.

Miss Hackman would be going on stage at 9.45pm and although gutted to miss both supporting acts, a wave of excitement came over me. 2013 will surely be a big year for team Hackman!

Her EP ‘That Iron Taste’ was released on Monday 25th February and since then she has toured a handful of cities playing Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, and now London before heading to the SXSW festival in the US.

It was warm inside - certainly so, if you are wearing a beanie hat, scarf, jumper, jacket, and had just been for a run. You know the feeling you get when that first bead of sweat runs down your forehead and off your nose... So, I composed myself, stripped a couple of layers, bought a drink and, taking advantage of the fact that the last act had just finished and that everyone was queuing for the toilet, I managed to get to the front of the pit.

The stage was clean of clutter: 2 guitars, a pedal board an amp, amp case, and mic. Simple.

The room filled up, there was a buzz in the air, and people were subtly jostling for a better position. At this point, I realized that everyone else was sweating too, and that the ceiling was very low!

Just after 9.45pm I was knocked, ever so slightly, from behind by someone trying to squeeze through the crowd. I thought “Hold on a minute, you cheeky devil... trying to nudge in front of me!’ Then, as she passed by, I saw the trade mark blond hair, a loose fitting white t-shirt with thin black stripes and blue jeans - Marika Hackman stepped up from the pit on to the stage and reached for her acoustic guitar and said ‘hello’.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and applauded. The applause faded and silence ensued as she began to sing.

Marika Hackman is young, incredibly talented, and blessed with a enticingly beautiful voice. There are no special effects - no need for background dancers, ‘crazy pop videos’, or any other distractions to make up for vapid lyrics. Instead, she stands on stage with a mic’d fender amp, a Gibson Acoustic Guitar, an Epiphone electric guitar, and a mini pedal board and sings. Her songs are pure and poetic, mixing beauty and darkness with rhythmic and melodic changes so satisfying, that they are a constant joy to the listener.

It had been a strange day for Marika. Some idiot stole her electric guitar the night before - but with the help of cctv and social media sites - specifically twitter, her fans jumped to attention and somehow, the guitar ended up being returned before the gig! How that happened, I have no idea, but it happened - Another reminder of how powerful social media platforms are and how the world has evolved as a result, because 10yrs ago, that would not have been possible! She dedicated her track ‘Cannibal’ to said thief.

Marika Hackman - Canibal

Her set lasted about 45mins and each song was like a magnetic siren call. I felt myself being pulled in every time she opened her mouth. No one could take their eyes off her - It was incredible! Luckily, she is no Siren, and we all walked out of the building alive.

Some people just have that ‘something special’ about them - no-one can put their finger on it. Some would call it the ‘X-factor’ but that term has been twisted for me. I’ve been doing some thinking about what ‘it’ is - and whatever ‘it’ is, this young woman has it! A complete commitment to expressing herself freely through her chosen art form and because of its purity and beauty, people warm to it and want more of it.

Thank you Marika Hackman for doing what you do!

A couple of other UK artists to be aware of are John Smith and Josh Record - keep your eye on them too!

Check out:

 Marika Hackman - Retina Television

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