Stripped down to the bare bones, which literally included a rather fetching shoulder length dress, electric guitar, and a drink... or two, Lianne La Havas offered herself musically to a select few at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in Hoxton Square this past Friday. Playing a set to celebrate the release of her new album, Is Your Love Big Enough, the London-born singer/ songwriter had everyone in attendance embracing not only her music, but her witty and loving personality also.
Taking the stage, after she introduces herself and discusses part of her journey, La Havas opens with ‘Arms of Danger’. The crowd, who are packed in to a remotely quaint room at the back of the venue, which mirrored a small school hall except with a bar and disco ball, continually let it be known that they appreciate her music.
Chatting between songs, it really was an enjoyable evening because of how humble La Havas is. Her rise from budding songwriter to upcoming songstress on a main stage has been a beautiful thing to watch, but she’s remained grounded. So because of this her fans have always had a place in her heart on a personal level, and they’ve always stayed loyal.
Running through tracks such as ‘Au Cinema’, ‘No Room For Doubt’, and ‘Age’, the cheers get louder and louder, which seems almost impossible being that the number in attendance isn’t huge due to it being an intimate gathering. It’s obvious from the way she strums her guitar and sips her drink, (not at the same time of course as that really would be a mean feat), that she’s living and loving the life she is now a part of.
Besides her performances of ‘Tease Me’, ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’, and ‘Forget’, when her version of Jill Scott’s ‘He Loves Me’ lands on deck there’s no finer moment. Beautifully sung, heartfelt, and performed with not a single error apparent, the vocal chords La Havas possesses are a marvel at the best of times. Live music isn’t supposed to sound this good, especially in a tiny venue with average acoustics. After her explanation of why she loves it so much and what the album it features on means to her, Jill Scott would have been proud to have witnessed this.
Finishing with ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’, her most recognisable hit to date, the uptempo backdrop plays like the perfect outro for such an enjoyable evening. However, this is not the end. After thanking the audience and telling them to continue to have fun and that she’ll stick around for a drink and a laugh, chants of, “Encore,” start filling the room. Flashing her cheeky smile, La Havas returns to the front of the stage and finishes with ‘Lost and Found’.
Combined with her love for her audience, she even announces at one point, “I’d love to take you all home but my flat is too small,” and her ability to sing to the point of perfection, her album launch needs to be used as a promotional tool to sell her album because it was definitely a night to remember.