Lianne La Havas - Wolverhampton Civic Hall
A headline set from Bombay Bicycle Club is something to enjoy for sure, especially when first support act (and cute mate) Lucy Rose impresses both solo and with the band. However, despite the band’s increasing fortunes translating to an impressive performance worthy of their top billing, I know who I was more excited about seeing – and who, in ten years time, I’ll probably be banging on (and therefore mercilessly boring people) about catching at Wolves Civic before she was a huge star.
Following two brilliant EPs, Lianne La Havas steps to the stage as second support act, sandwiched between Rose and the ‘Always Like This’ indie band, and is utterly sensational. Despite opener ‘No Room for Doubt’ featuring Willy Mason on its recorded version, here La Havas is the singular voice and singular figure on stage as she performs the track with just her acoustic guitar; although it is undoubtedly great on CD, she proves here she doesn’t need another voice to aid her during the song’s richly ruminative mood-setting. The cheekier ‘Age’, performed last year on Later… and a soulful successor to Lily Allen (only better), reinforces her grasp on melody and lyrics while showcasing both her talent for the guitar and her deeply expressive voice.
On third track ‘Forget’, La Havas is joined by her band, a move that might threaten to break the magic of her in solo mode if the performance of this fuzzy, funky genre mongrel wasn’t so bewitching. It should have been huge upon its release in February, but it probably will be anyway when the lady releases her full-length studio debut this summer. The romantic, witty ‘Au Cinema’ and silky ballad ‘Lost and Found’, which shows off the possibilities of that seductive voice, are further testament to her talent, and it helps that she’s a charmer too: one song in, and she’s complimenting the crowd and asking them to pose for a camera shot. No wonder Prince has been won over.
The short set concludes with new song ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’, ending things on an upbeat note and easily cementing La Havas as the one to watch. It’s a wonder she isn’t massive already but that big spotlight is doubtless going to come anyway, so for now try and catch her so you can tell your kids you were among the ones who watched and listened while others were muscling in for a drink at the bar. Won’t those folk be kicking themselves, I wonder?