Live Review: Marika Hackman Live (from a Swimming Pool) in London

Born of returning to her family home and having the time to dive back into some of her favourite songs, the new aptly-titled record from Marika Hackman, Covers, was celebrated in divine style last week with a captivating set live from an abandoned swimming pool. Though the London-based singer-songwriter had hoped to be joined by crowds of fans singing along with her, the performance was nonetheless stirring, and offered a welcomed respite from lockdown.

Last Friday night saw Marika Hackman celebrate the release of her new album Covers, with a much-anticipated livestream from an abandoned swimming pool. Made in lockdown, whilst situated at her parent’s home, Hackman’s new album consists of a series of illuminating covers by an eclectic mix of artists, making the livestream a seamless structure of atmospheric new songs as well as “a few golden oldies,” as Hackman put it.

Straight-forward pop is not what encompasses Hackman, her multi-faceted and genreless approach being combined with emblematic guitar and upfront lyrics. A cover of The Shins’ Phantom Limb was a gentle introduction, contrasted with I’m Not Where You Are from the 2019 record Any Human Friend. Hackman epitomises a refusal to conform to any societal norms, interpreting songs with a fluctuation of gentle reverberation and bold guitar which creates a seamlessness in her set list; which songs are Hackman’s and which are covers being hard to distinguish.

Hackman’s lyrics are clever social commentaries on what it feels like to be a twenty-something dealing with sexuality and big city life in the twenty-first century.

Hackman’s lyrics are, though, in no way a dramatic ode to coming of age, but clever social commentaries on what it feels like to be a twenty-something dealing with sexuality and big city life in the twenty-first century. To feel desired, intoxicated, loved or sad in an ever-increasing digital age. Hackman’s dreamy set was reminiscent of what makes us feel alive, the gig being a much-needed escape in the early days of England’s second national lockdown.

Rather than taking to a stage, Marika took to an abandoned swimming pool, jesting that it was “strange playing to an empty room, or an empty swimming pool” for that matter. Although, stating that “it definitely makes it ten times more awkward not having an audience.” As a substitute for our much-loved gigs, Hackman’s livestream did well in creating a similar atmosphere, providing a much-needed dose of female artistry. Even in trying times, Hackman turned up in a black suit paired with an open white shirt, asserting herself as a musician in the industry whose output should be taken seriously.

At the end of the set, Hackman closed with a series of covers to highlight the offerings from her new album. From the record, touching covers of Grimes Realiti and MUNA’s Pink Light were played, highlighting not only the value of women in the industry right now but Hackman’s versatility in adapting to a variety of genres. Despite the strangeness of not having an audience, Hackman excelled herself in presenting what could be as close to an authentic gig as possible.

Written by: Nieve O’Donnell

Edited by: Dominic Allum

Featured image courtesy of Marika Hackman via Facebook.