Waiting eagerly underneath the intimate caverns of Brighton’s seafront venue Coalition, was a dense, maximum capacity turnout for Lianne La Havas. Championed by Bon Iver, Jools Holland and none other than Gary Barlow, twenty-two year old Lianne is currently on a petite, sold out tour of England. Demand for tickets in London so far outstripped supply, that the Scala show is being streamed live in the pub next door on the 13th of March.
Strolling gleefully on stage in Brighton on Wednesday, Lianne began with a smoky, stripped down rendition of her 2011 single No Room For Doubt. It reverberated perfectly, the sea-side arches of Coalition giving a false sense of intimacy; her voice seemed to enchant each member of her one-hundred and fifty strong audience. Gone, a ‘goodbye and good riddance’ to an ex-boyfriend, was an earnest explanation of the breakdown of her relationship, ‘thought I knew you, no more chances, I’m gone’.
For the wonders and deep attachment her audience have with her beautiful vocals, her Achilles heel is her lyricism. Though, the simplicity of the lyrical style does provide a space where she may exhibit her beautiful vocals with clarity.
Age, with a light guitar and piano accompaniment, provoked a chuckle from the audience. It is sung with a wry smile ‘he’s rather old enough to be my father, so he’s not the one for me cause I fancy younger men’.
Though her light-hearted interaction with the audience is certainly welcome, at times it meant the poignancy of curiously self-loathing tracks like Lost & Found were lost moments after the last chord was struck. It left you wanting a greater sense of sincerity. The lone piano, and slow symbol tap calls attention to her striking, dejected words: ‘when I felt strong enough, I was discovered by the love I had been waiting for so long, you told me none of that was real, I cannot hide how low I feel to know that you were never wrong’.
Lianne La Havas did provide a beautiful show. In the midst of much adoration and media appreciation for her vocal talent, she is clearly in a different place to when she wrote her more solemn material. Perhaps with time and a little more confidence in her emotion, she could be remarkable.