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Review: Lianne La Havas at O2 Academy

16 December 2015
Review: Lianne La Havas at O2 Academy
Close to sold out, Lianne La Havas played the 02 Academy on Saturday (12th) night to an audience completely in awe of her. Without outwardly calling myself a fan, I liked and appreciated La Havas’ cool, classy demeanour, and eclectic mix. As well as being talented in the vocal department, she also often plays lead guitar, and well, so my girl power vibes were at an all time high, providing a more than pleasant surprise last weekend.

Lianne la Havas Article 1

Surrounded by an audience visibly glowing and grinning in La Havas’ presence, it was hard not to be infected by the positive energy. Looking around many are singing along word for word, indicating than her fan base are not just gentle admirers but truly adore La Havas and her performance at the O2. And to be fair, she makes it incredibly easy to enjoy. She is gracious and seems genuinely impressed and excited by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, winning our favour without conceit. Her songs range from cute to classy but are always injected with soul, giving off the kind of serene, wordly vibes one would primarily associate with Erykah Badu. A sprawling vase of Bird-of-Paradise flowers decorating the back of the stage seemed a fitting metaphor for La Havas’ elegant, enigmatic and exotic demeanour.

Often described as ‘mannered’ her music is mature and tasteful but by no means cookie cutter perfect. Rather, she gives a polished performance that is made valid by the sheer power of her voice, which is all honey and gravel; husky but capable of several effortless octaves. She announces proudly the arrival of her second album Blood, which most of her set is taken from. The older tracks she plays also get a warm reception, revealing that many have been long-time fans, with one of her songs mixed effortlessly into a slinky, and much less annoying version of Pharrel Williams’ ‘Happy’. La Havas was certainly happy, grinning her stunning toothy grin, and this proved contagious.

Lianne la Havas Article 2

Emma is a Freelance Writer for Leeds Living. She has a degree in English literature from the University of Leeds and specialises in writing cultural editorials.
Photography by Mark Wheelwright