SHOW RECAP + GALLERY: MARINA brings 'Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land' to Boston, MA
Updated: Apr 8
Though there are MANY things I wish I could forget from my tenure on Tumblr in the early 2010’s, Marina is certainly not one of them. Growing up alongside the Electra Heart era, I hold Marina’s just-off-center electropop near and dear, and I’m definitely not alone. My walk to the Orpheum Theater for Marina’s Boston leg of the Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land tour was dotted by crowds of fans with heart-freckled cheeks, dressed in bubblegum pink from head-to-toe — a sure sign that I was headed in the right direction.
The night started with Swedish electropop singer Tove Styrke, who instantly warmed up the audience with her catchy melodies and hard pop drum beats. Stryke’s set also included a loving homage to Swedish supergroup ABBA: a stripped-back rendition of “Super Trouper.” Styrke sat at the edge of the stage as lights twinkled and spun around the theater, carving out an unusual home for intimacy as she sang out to the crowd.
With her heart firmly planted on her sleeve, Styrke’s music gains its power from her unabashed and candid lyrics. Her openness, paired with powerful pop vocals gives her an indescribable joy and “it” factor, demonstrated best in her new single “Show Me Love,” alongside “Start Walking,” “Sway,” and “Borderline.” Dancing across the stage to heavy bass lines and catchy hooks, Tove left Boston with an audience eager for her return.
The stage reset and anticipation building, the Orpheum flooded with deep red light. Marina’s band filed onto the stage, soon followed by their ringleader as the fierce drum kicks of “Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land” filled the theater.
Thirteen years into her career, Marina, proven and vetted, has nothing to lose. She owns her power on the stage with unbridled confidence. Her mesmerizing movements were reflected throughout the crowd, fans synchronizing with her siren-like vocals and maximalist visuals. Her performance leaned towards the theatrical in the best possible way; kaleidoscopic video projections ebbed and flowed behind Marina and her supporting band, physically matching the space embodied by her performance. The entire experience felt larger than life and completely reflected the dreamlike quality of Marina’s sound.
With Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land, Marina channels the divine feminine with her own dramatism and flair. With iconic vocals sweeping from raspy lows to airy highs, she further defines her own femininity with a pang of irony and critique towards the world as we know it. She isn’t afraid to say what she feels, and say it loudly. Songs like “Purge the Poison,” “Can’t Pin Me Down,” and “Hollywood” feature defiant and frank commentary on everything from misogyny and racism to struggling with media perception and capitalist systems.
The set heavily featured ballads like “Handmade Heaven,” “Happy,” and “Highly Emotional People” that showcase just how haunting Marina’s live vocals can be when supported by expansive and sweeping instrumentals. That being said, Marina took time to indulge fans of every era throughout the set, with hits like “Froot,” “Are You Satisfied?,” “Teen Idle,” “Oh No!”, and “Venus Fly Trap.” As an early Marina fan (I even wrote a term paper on Electra Heart in college), I was ecstatic to hear some of my early favorites and scream the lyrics alongside the entirety of the Orpheum Theater.
If anything, Marina’s work, new and old, has only grown in its power and relevance over time.
Her lyrical commentary remains undated through the virtue of her narrative voice, giving her work a feeling of nostalgia that’s still somehow so painfully in the now. I can say without a doubt that the Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land tour is a must-see. It’s a night for indulging in the emotions and theatricality of life in the 21st century, and embracing your own power.