Five years after Marina & The Diamonds' debut album dropped, the singer finally earned her first Top 10 release in America when her new record Froot soared to No. 8 on the Billboard 200. It was a defining moment for an artist whose superstar ambition led her to audition for boy bands and relinquish some creative control while working with Dr. Luke and Stargate on 2012's Electra Heart. In the past six months, the singer-songwriter became an anti-pop star with an atypical album rollout (she released a new single every month ahead of Froot's release) and ditching hitmakers, writing the entire LP herself and co-producing it with Coldplay/Bat for Lashes collaborator David Kosten.
The sweet taste of success for Marina and her Diamonds (which included guests like Perez Hilton, MS MR's Lizzy Plapinger and buzzy SXSW breakout Shamir) was clear during a Bowery Ballroom concert in New York on Thursday night. A departure from the blonde-wig-1950s-housewife-dress character she embraced while promoting Electra, the Welsh beauty looked way more comfortable in a crop top, loose-fitting pants and a quirky headpiece featuring a huge cherry on top (Froot, get it?). Opening with Electra cut "Bubblegum Bitch," the singer swayed, smiled and got in the faces of the front-row fans clawing to touch her.
Moving into Froot standout "Forget," Marina sounded a little hoarser than usual (she has been on a wild schedule, flying between the U.K. and U.S., multiple shows at SXSW, Good Morning America, etc), but her voice grew stronger as the set went on through early singles like "Mowgli's Road" and "I Am Not a Robot."
Not only did Marina's voice grow stronger, but the crowd's contributions also grew, with the audience not only audibly shouting every lyric, but also nailing the quirky vocal ad-libs from on tracks like "I Am Not a Robot" and "How To Be a Heartbreaker." Our heroine even thanked the crowd for their "excellent backing vocals" after the latter performance.
Despite being hot on the promotional trail for Froot, half the set consisted of older material, including standouts like a piano-only version of "Obsessions," a guitar-infused rendition of "Radioactive," and a take on "Primadonna" where the synths surged louder than ever.
But it was during the new material that the star shined brightest and looked most at ease. While there were cheesy dance moves during "Radioactive" (maybe the Stargate beats sound corny to her now, even if they didn't to us), Marina poured her Froot-y heart out to the audience during "I'm a Ruin." "Happy" upped the atmospheric vibe with reverberating guitars and oceanic synths. Meanwhile, Marina offered sassy hip shakes on the self-affirming anthem "Can't Pin Me Down," then bopped along to the bouncy beat on "Blue."
"I just wanted to say thank you for buying my album," Marina told a cheering audience before her final song of the night. "It's kind of amazing to be Top 10, and I really didn't think it was going to happen, and it happened because of my fans."
She ended with the new record's quirky title track as dozens of balloons fell from the ceiling, occupying every open pocket of air in the crowd and on Marina's stage—a celebratory gesture not only for the singer, but also for the fans who made Froot a success. There was no encore, but perhaps Marina wanted to keep viewers craving more. This clearly won't be the last we see of her.
Marina and The Diamonds, Bowery Ballroom in New York, March 26, 2015:
1. Bubblegum Bitch
3. Mowgli's Road
4. I Am Not a Robot
8. Can't Pin Me Down
10. I'm a Ruin
12. How To Be a Heartbreaker