Lianne La Havas, Village Underground, London
Peddlers of hype would have people believe that singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas is very good at what she does. They would be wrong - she is exceptional.
From the moment the 22-year-old London-born soul singer takes to the stage for the first of two nights at Shoreditch's Village Underground, to launch her debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, it is little wonder that she has attracted attention from celebrities as diverse as Prince and Bon Iver.
In her endearingly honest and not yet fully PR-trained manner (please let her stay that way), La Havas expresses bitterness at having been beaten to a higher slot by Newton Faulkner (her record took the Number 4 spot in the charts in its first week in early July). But she laughs it off, throwing her head back with the same I'm-on-top-of-the-world grin that adorns her elegant Greco-Jamaican features throughout the evening.
"Wow, I'm trying not to exclaim by swearing but this is pretty effing overwhelming," she says after receiving a rousing applause for the opener, "Don't Wake Me Up", which regains its confidence with ease after a false start. It is followed by a delightful "Au Cinema", beautifully underlined by La Havas' delicate finger-picking (a skill taught to her by her father as a teenager) and her four-piece band. But it is that voice that really wows.
The heart-breaking stripped-back vocal flutters of "No Room for Doubt" (La Havas stresses she wrote this one), and the poignant "Empty" are both stunning, inspiring silent deference from the crowd as she displays depths of hopeless romanticism beyond her years.
With fluency, maturity and womanly glamour (she is draped in a cut-out black ball gown), she then transforms into a spurned lover for "Tease Me", before venturing into Marilyn Monroe territory with the sultry retro stylings of "Age" ("So is it such a problem that he's old?/ So long as he does whatever he's told").
The result is an eclectic collection of soul, folk, rock, pop, jazz and indie unified by La Havas's consistently impressive vocals - the raw, natural tone of which, sadly, she doesn't quite manage to bottle on her recorded material.
The stage suits La Havas, as the love ballad "Gone" shows. She works the crowd effortlessly - introducing it with dripping sarcasm ("This is an ode to my ex-boyfriend, who sadly couldn't make it tonight") before unwinding a spine-tingling performance that easily earns comparisons with Adele. Enough said.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 BP hit with record $18.7 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones: Leaked season six script introduces new 'red priestess' and hints at Daenerys Targaryen's next chapter
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS