Review: Lianne La Havas, Bristol Academy

October 21, 2012

It is almost time to announce the winners of this year’s Mercury Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the music industry calendar.

In Bristol over the last seven days we have been lucky enough to see two nominated artists play, both at the Academy. First Django Django [CORRECT] who were supporting Hot Chip, and to end the week on Sunday night Lianne La Havas.

23-year-old Londoner La Havas last played in Bristol at the Trinity back in May, and since then she has been following the well-worn steps of a singer groomed for stardom.

This actually started before she had even released a record. How many unknown artists get to record a duet with Willy Mason?

Last month, Havas’ international stardom was ratcheted up a further few notches when she supported Alicia Keys at Manchester Cathedral, broadcast live on MTV across the world.

At the Academy, the singer born to a Greek father and Jamaican mother was wearing black and white striped trousers, with a white puffy shirt, and you could hear a pin drop during some of her songs – a rare occurrence in this venue.

Forced to cancel a few recent shows after being hospitalised for a kidney infection, La Havas was back to what she does best, the five-month gap between her last Bristol gig seeing her confidence increase but still retaining her wit and charm.

Au Cinema opened proceedings, as La Havas was joined by a female backing singer and an all-male band. Some of the best moments, however, was when she appeared on stage alone with just her acoustic guitar.

For those who do not yet know the words to all the songs on her album, she taught some of the lyrics to Forget, while title track Is Your Love Big Enough? was a particular highlight of the evening.

“Try your best to comprehend that I’m not just that bitch who stole your ex boyfriend” went a brand new song, revealing a side to La Havas that is not all sweetness and light, but is still one of the most engaging and talented young female singer songwriters around.

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