Lianne La Havas @ Village Underground 17th July 2012

Shoreditch’s Village Underground was the choice of venue for the 2nd night of the Lianne La Havas album launch. Originally this was the 1st date that went on sale and then due to demand a 2nd was then added. I arrived at the venue around 4.30pm. It was about 2 ½ hours early but given the fact it was sold out and the fact the kids had broken up from school resulted me in taking no chances. Looking back on it I could of arrived a bit later but the prospect of being front barrier was enough to satisfy me. Fast forward to around 7pm and the doors finally opened. This was the first time I had been Village Underground since Kate Nash in 2010 (yes I did attend Gaggle earlier on in the month but that took place underneath the arch). The way the main space has been laid out had dramatically changed. Gone was the high stage and gone was the barrier which created something extremely intimate.

Supporting Lianne La Havas was singer/ songwriter Mara Carlyle. Now I was seeing her and hearing her music for the 1st time. After having witnessed this 7 song set my first opinion was rather good. I would most definitely see Carlyle again. What featured during this set were mainly tracks from sophomore album Floreat.

Things kicked off with a non album track and this being How Long Has This Been Going On? which saw Carlyle play the ukulele for this stripped back number. This song sounded simply amazing the vocals were strong and gave me the chills. How Long Has This Been Going On? Was a George Gershwin cover which was faultlessly delivered. Straight after it was onto the opening track from the long delayed sophomore album Floreat. This being But Now I Do. The rest of the band joined in for this one. I picked on jazzy vibes and Mara’s vocals were rather slick. “Good evening lovers of Lianne La Havas. I am your chairman. Thanks for being here early. This is a song about a nightmare” Carlyle said to the audience before getting stuck into a song from the 2004’s release The Lovely. The song in question being Lost To Sea. This song was slightly dark as it detailed about losing someone that means a lot to you to the sea and not being able to do anything to safe them. At the end you realise it was all a nightmare. “Good lord you’re a lovely bunch. Has anyone been to any festivals this Summer? Not exactly Summer weather. This is a song I wrote about having a very good time at a music festival in the South of France” Mara then went onto say before Bowlface En Provence. This was a whimsical performance of this song and I could pick up on a soulfulness. “This one’s a bit of a gamble. It requires a bit of audience participation perhaps. Seeing as you are as we’ve established lovers of Lianne La Havas. I’m thinking there are some singers in this crowd. This song is about an ex love that I had no intention of getting back together with. I wrote this song imagining myself like Cleopatra, at a barrel of a ship with galley slaves underneath and rowing. You are my galley slaves” she said before King. The lyrics were sublime and everyone hummed along two notes. “My name is Mara Carlyle and sometimes when I write songs I steal from other people, normally dead people” she then went onto say before the penultimate song of the night. The Devil and Me was a Vaughan Williams composition (Silent Noon) and Carlyle reworked it with her vivid lyricism, which conjured up something beautiful. “This is going to be my last song. Thank you very much for coming. I’m double exited to be here with the extraordinary Lianne La Havas. This is a mixture of 2 of my favourite songs Amerie and The Pixies” Carlyle said before calling Alice Grant to the stage. What ended the night was something unique and a fantastic mash up. One of those songs being 1 Thing by Amerie. Piximerie was a superb song which was delivered sublimely.


How Long Has This Been Going On?
But Now I Do
Lost To Sea
Bowlface En Provence
The Devil And Me

Coming onto the stage around 9pm was the exceptional Lianne La Havas. This was the 2nd night of the Is Your Love Big Enough? Album launch. Both shows took place at Village Underground and both nights sold out. Even though this was the 2nd night it was the original date that went on sale. Another night at Village Underground was added due to the 1st date selling out. “Good evening London. Now I must explain why I’m a little bit late. Those of you at the front, just in the corner there you’ll see my Great Grandmother is here. I think it’s only appropriate to play you a love song” La Havas said when she graced the stage. Kicking this of was Don’t Wake Me Up. At first it started off as an a capella and there was plenty of harmonising which was rather stunning. As the song progressed Lianne then started to play the guitar and then the rest of the band came in. This was a soulful folk song which felt absolutely magical. La Havas was the sole writer of this amazing tune and its lyrics were extraordinary. It was then straight onto Au Cinéma. Au Cinéma is French for At The Cinema. This number had friendly words and a happy beat. When ever I hear this song I picture old film noir black and white films in my head. They Could Be Wrong was played immediately after. This was a tune that offered lots of promise. It had sublime lyrics and an infectious chilled out melody. If you have the album you would realise in the inlay with the lyrics it had been titled as Could They Be Wrong? “Thank you very much for joining us this evening. Now I’m going to play a song that didn’t make it to the album. It’s on the 1st ever EP” La Havas said before getting stuck into Final Form which appeared on the Forget EP. Final Form was the 4th single to be taken from Everything Everything’s debut album Man Alive. This cover song showcased Lianne’s amazing vocal talent and range. It started a soft guitar ballad and soon got into a rhythm. “This is being streamed online via my website. I’m going to serenade you alone” Lianne said before the mesmerising No Room For Doubt. There was a strong folk vibe to this gentle/ beautiful song. La Havas’s vocals were really soothing. “This is my album. This evening here is to celebrate the launch of it. I made it to #4 in the 1st week and some interesting news. We are holding strong in the top 5 in the 2nd week. I’m going to play you a cheeky number now” La Havas said before Tease Me. Now this is a tongue in cheek tune which was about having a wandering eye. This song had a slight pace to it and the vocals were extremely powerful. “This goes out to all the older men” Lianne then mentioned to the audience. Age was a quirky song which basically gave you the message that age does not matter. She breezed through this song at ease. “A little thing my Great Grandma told me when I told her I was dating an older man. She said It’s better to be an older man’s sweetheart than a young man’s slave. Now I’d like to share with you a song called Empty” La Havas said to the audience. Empty was a nice gentle song which was perfectly delivered. This doesn’t appear on the album though instead it appears on the deluxe iTunes version.

It was then onto something I had not heard perform live and this being album track Everything Everything. This was a strong folk song which sounded incredible. “I made a set list error there. This is an ode to my Ex Boyfriend who sadly couldn’t make it this evening” Lianne then said. The set list error was the fact she started to play the song which followed. The set list said that it was Forget and this being the 2nd single and the title of the debut EP which was released last year. Still this song drew the cheers and it was packed with a punch. Like Adele Lianne crafted songs from her relationship experiences. Straight after it was onto Elusive which is in fact a cover of the Scott Matthews song which was released in 2006. Her take on this Ivor Novello winning track was outstanding and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge. Things came to a close with the whimsical Lost and Found. I really enjoyed the soothing melody to this song and from the performance you could pick up on the emotion. This was a good choice of song to end on. “I lied about leaving. I had to come back. I couldn’t resist you. I’m going to play you a little blast from my own past now. Those of you who, I hope all of you who ordered the deluxe iTunes package of my album will know this. This is the 3rd song I ever wrote on guitar” Lianne said when she graced the stage again. It was then onto something new (well old really). It was then onto Arms Of Danger which was about the same guy Forget was about. I liked the fact this was stripped back as it was Lianne, her vocals and an acoustic guitar. Considering this song was really old its lyrics were rather impressive. Straight after it was onto a cover and this being He Loves Me which was originally sung by Jill Scott. This tune got the cheers and she made this song her own. “Since I’m up here I would love to play a song that does not require guitar. It does require Whisky however. This completes the story of that Ex Boyfriend I continuously speak about” La Havas said before Gone. Gone was about leaving her ex-boyfriend and this tune sent chills up my spine. I found this tune to be rather stunning and I stood in awe watching this song being sung live. “You know I asked you earlier if you wanted a. I didn’t ask if you wanted to. I just said I’m going to take a photo of you, so you have no choice. I might have to take several. Just so I can remember this night forever. Ye Olde album launch. First ever album ever, thank you for supporting me” Lianne then mentioned to the audience before ending with Is Your Love Big Enough? Now I adored this uplifting tune and its lyrics were flawless.


Don’t Wake Me Up
Au Cinéma
They Could Be Wrong
Final Form
No Room For Doubt
Tease Me
Everything Everything
Lost and Found


Arms Of Danger
He Loves Me
Is Your Love Big Enough?

OVERALL: This was a top night consisting of brilliant support and an amazing headliner. Lianne La Havas has something extremely special and her vocals can easily leave you weak at the knees. Her debut album is phenomenal and there is not a single bad track on it. Just seeing her perform the tracks live was incredible and it definitely makes me want to attend another Lianne La Havas concert.

As for the support Mara Carlyle all I can say is the songs that were performed completely captivated me from beginning to end (and sometimes support acts do have a tough time trying to win over fans of the headlining act). Still the 7 songs were pure class and the sophomore album Floreat (which means let it flourish) has been well overdue 7 years is in fact incredible.


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