not a member? click here to sign up
Lianne La Havas - Live at The Sugar Club
Craig Fitzpatrick, 22 Mar 2012
Raking over the memories of a failed relationship, forensically examining the failure and hurt stage by stage, should not a fun Saturday night make. And yet it’s a trick 22-year-old Londoner Lianne La Havas somehow manages to pull off with aplomb in a sold-out Sugar Club. You can probably chalk it down to her soulful, luxuriant voice, able backing band and songs of a quality that belie her young years. Things begin with a minor false start for technical reasons. “I’m ever so sorry,” she gently frowns, “nothing like this has ever happened before”, and with that, those gathered are in love without a note having been played. The first notes that do come are gently plucked by La Havas on ‘No Room For Doubt’, a stripped-down stand-out that is beautifully melodic and utterly fragile. Though other musicians are added as the night goes on, it sets a template that the rest of the gig more or less sticks to, positioning Lianne La Havas as an acolyte of Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige. Or Erykah Badu relocated to London. Her Greek and Jamaican roots can be heard in the aural mix too, making for an exotic proposition. The likes of ‘Lost & Found’ keep the bad relationships theme running into the final third, until Lianne has a moment of reflection and draws a cheery line under it all. “Now we can get on with our lives!” she beams. “This one’s thankfully not about my boyfriend...” Her first full-length release isn’t out till summer, but we do get a sample of the title-track, ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’, which is a late highlight this evening. If she has found a new love, it would appear to be Dublin, which she calls “one of the coolest places on the planet.” The admiration is mutual, and she seems quite taken aback by the reception she receives. It’s no coincidence the singer announces plans for a return visit in May a few days later. We’ll be waiting.