April 12th | DIYsolation Festival – Instagram
One of the many quirks of our current reliance on digital communication has been the way livestreams have brought gig-goers closer to artists. An acoustic set played into a MacBook seemingly strips back the artifice, removing the physical distance of the stage to place a performer in the hands of the viewer. This is not something that suits everyone, and I can imagine it an uncomfortable experience for some.
Playing on a nylon-stringed acoustic from her family home, Marika Hackman notes the weirdness of playing songs to fans from the very place she wrote them. Despite the potential awkwardness, she makes the most of the occasion. Her Sunday evening contribution to DIY Mag’s DIYsolation Festival has the relaxed warmth of a catch-up call between rounds of Scrabble.
Playing to her phone, she opens with first album stand-out, ‘Ophelia’. The start of the set glitches due to Wi-Fi issues, a stream of ‘switch to 4G’ comments becoming the new ‘turn it up’. These issues do not last long, and we’re soon treated to an intimate glimpse of one of our foremost songwriters.
Starting with tracks from debut, We Slept Last Night, Hackman offers a throwback to her folksier beginnings. The songs are better suited to the format and are a great showcase for Hackman’s understated guitar playing. Her right-hand breezes through intricate finger picking, making it look easier than it is. Alongside these earlier tracks there’s also versions of more recent songs, the personal highlight amongst a strong collection being the affecting lyrical imagery of ‘Cigarette’.
There’s a running stream of audience interaction throughout. Hackman is in good spirits and joins in with a few Tiger King fan theories. The comment section also highlights the important impact the more open lyrics of Hackman’s last two albums have had for some, a cluster of ‘go lesbians’ appearing in the comments during ‘Boyfriend’. A loveably shambolic performance, Hackman ends up forgetting many of the lyrics to her most popular track. It’s a moment that only serves to further endear her to us viewers.
Coming to the end, Hackman decides to finish with a well-keyed version of Elliot Smith’s ‘Between the Bars’. She then attempts to hold a brief interview, before the stream is cut and we’re left adrift, sent back to our Easter confinements. Like a friend calling to check in, the performance demonstrates the comfort and support provided by good music – something that it is important to be reminded of at a time when the industry has been left to fend for itself.
See the video for ‘hand solo’ here: