Lianne La Havas played to a full house Monday night at Doug Fir Lounge and left no doubt she is one of the strongest new voices we've heard in some time. Playing songs from her debut release Is Your Love Big Enough?, she showed impressive range and command of her music -- and the audience -- throughout. When somebody asked what her belt said, she told them it read "When Doves Cry." She didn't play a Prince cover, but did play Radiohead's "Weird Fishes" at one point, very credibly. Ifanyi Bell took these photos and sent along these notes from the show:
The audience at Doug Fir Lounge seemed to want to keep Lianne La Havas to themselves. Despite YouTube clips, late night talk shows, and a world tour that's been ongoing since last year, I could hear several conversations around me before her set along the same lines: "How do you know about Lianne?" It seemed as if people were asking to root out interlopers, or those who might spoil the novelty of hearing this strong new talent.
By the time someone got around to questioning me, I told them that I worked with opbmusic and months ago we had talked about shooting a potential session performance. Sadly, the studio session did not happen.
La Havas is one of the latest in a long line of songstresses to come out of the United Kingdom. What distinguishes her from so many other talented British acts is, simply, her voice. It is not that other singers from the UK aren't amazing; the power of Adele's vocals are astoundingly bombastic and emotional. Amy Winehouse's soultry swagger was a spot-on impression of early 50's rock & roll sounds. But La Havas has a pure and seemingly effortless way of singing. The entire evening it never appeared she approached the need to strain or force a single note. In the chillingly personal and vocally complex break-up balad "Gone", which La Havas said was about a recent romantic ending, the song crescendos into a powerful refrain and sends her voice into stratospheric heights, but she managed it like a simple roll call, no matter the emotions that were clear on her face.
La Havas seemed astounded by the adulation and emotional outpouring of fans at the show. She took out her iPhone and snapped a picture of the audience, which was more than willing to pose for one and was reluctant to let her leave. She finished her encore reassuring them she would be back someday, "Unfortunately, I have to go now, so I can go make another record. Well, I mean fortunately I get to make another record.."
Photos by Ifanyi Bell
Tagged: live review