Lianne La Havas, Village Underground, London

4.00

 

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.

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy