Gig Review by Zak Edwards

Lianne La Havas

Following tea at Birmingham’s swanky new train station come shopping centre ‘Grand Central’ on a festive Friday evening it was a quick jaunt over to the Institute in Digbeth to be entertained by the glorious songstress Miss Lianne La Havas.

The stunning Lianne La Havas made her way to the stage donning a beautiful full length dress and trademark scooped up hair-do. Always elegant, always beautiful, tonight was much the same. The only difference tonight was her opening guitar of choice, as she was wielding a bass guitar – something I’d not seen her do before. Not that it mattered a jot, seemingly at home plucking 4 slightly thicker strings than the 6 of her more traditional guitar.

Despite my suspicions (later to be confirmed) that her voice wasn’t in as fine a fettle as it normally is, she was still vocally immense from the get go. Switching over to the guitar for an early introduction of ‘Is your Love Big Enough’, much to the overall glee of the packed out venue.

As she grew into the set, so too did her overworked voice and evidence of her massively impressive vocal range. Switching between solo act and lead singer of a band, and between normal mic and ‘impressive 50’s distorted mic’ the lovely lady treated the willing audience to tunes from both of her debut albums.

One of the great things about Lianne is that she’s far from a ‘one trick Pony’, seemingly willing to experiment with her own tunes as well as those of others. ‘Au Cinema’ featured a great interlude of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’, there was a great cover of Scott Mathews ‘Elusive’ and then ‘Never Get Enough’ from 2nd album Blood combines her trade mark silky smooth vocal with Sonic Youth-esq rip roaring chorus – all distorted and rocky using the whizzy supporting mic.

The singer seems most comfortable when it’s just her, her trusty guitar and the audience, finger picking jazz chord with consummate ease and delivering sublime melodies. You could hear a pin drop as signature tunes ‘No Room for Doubt’ and ‘Age’ were performed. In the latter, she professed her perchance for ‘Brummie men’ and in doing so further endeared herself to at least the male part of the audience and displayed her naturally cheeky side.

And then as soon as it had begun, it was onto the encore and then lights up. Another splendid evening in Birmingham courtesy of Tootings Miss La Havas which were quickly followed by enthusiastic discussions of where we can get tickets to see her again sometime soon! We’ll keep you posted…

Lianne La Havas

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