Marika Hackman’s first performance at Glasgow’s famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut grabs your attention fully, with the English singer-songwriter launching her set with one of the more upbeat numbers from I’m Not Your Man, ‘Good Intentions’. The noisy guitar fuzz reverberates around the small venue, accompanied by the headbanging of Hackman and her guitarist. Her songs are a little more brash than they were in That Iron Taste and We Slept at Last, the drums, bass and rhythm guitar punching through the audience as Hackman’s siren-like voice begins to fill the room.
Hackman’s songs seem to always carry a hint of menace, at the very least. Even if it’s only in the melody, there’s a sense of danger hanging over her music. Her debut album could very well be used as a soundtrack for a horror film, and this character carries over to a few of the tracks on I’m Not Your Man. Hackman’s voice can be full of threat when the moment requires it, and she uses this talent to the fullest, staring down the crowd as her band thrash and yell along to the songs. The gig feels almost like it’s as much a time for the band to go wild as it for the audience.
Hackman’s set is short, but filled with well-chosen tracks. Along with songs from her last record, the shoegaze-like I’m Not Your Man, Marika and her band play a few tracks from her previous albums, reworking them as grungier numbers. They’re great additions to the setlist, showing the audience a new side to Hackman’s older songs. ‘Bath is Black’ swirls around the stage, filled with more energetic, less spectral electric guitars instead of the original acoustic instrumentation. It brings a moment of calm to the raucous set. Hackman also plays a bonus track from I’m Not Your Man as well, ‘Majesty’, a slow, seductive song that thrums into your brain. The band keeps the audience in their grasp with these winding melodies just as they had with the bigger, more explosive numbers.
The crowd, though small, feels much larger with the amount of dancing that’s going on. They reach a fever pitch towards the end of the show, during ‘Boyfriend’, the lead single from I’m Not Your Man, a sarcastic needling of male insecurity and society’s view of lesbian relationships.
The show ends with ‘My Lover Cindy’, a song filled with braggadocio and lust, where Hackman shouts at the top of her lungs “I’m gonna get my fill / I’m gonna keep my eyes on the prize and I’ll suck you dry / I will”, her voice filled with so much certainty that you’re sure she’ll get what she wants. As the band leaves the stage, we’re left with a lasting warm feeling in our chests and grins on our faces. Hackman’s a somewhat singular voice in the UK rock scene at the moment, and I wouldn’t miss a show of hers, given the chance.