Lianne La Havas livestream at the Roundhouse
In what one hopes will be just a temporary setup to help ailing music venues, the Roundhouse streamed a live performance from Lianne La Havas – a one-time-only, paid-for stream from the iconic venue’s stage. La Havas is a good fit for a one-woman show; her classy, restrained pop/jazz/soul sound requires only her voice and an acoustic guitar. In a tongue-in-cheek nod to the unfamiliar intimacy of the show, La Havas decorated the stage as her own living room, with a sofa, standing lamp and a picture of her beloved grandma next to her. Dressed in a mohair jumper, dreads, a headband and statement earrings, she cut an understated yet chic figure.
In what has quickly become music industry folklore, La Havas caught the attention of Prince with the song Age from her debut album in 2012: Is Your Love Big Enough? He said that he’d listen to the lyrics “So is it such a problem if he’s old? / As long as he does whatever he’s told” and imagine she was singing about him, which is no surprise to anyone who has ever heard a Prince song. The friendship led to the world’s weirdest press conference in 2016, as Prince descended on La Havas’s tiny Leytonstone flat. It’s fair to say that you don’t catch the ears of one of the most prolific and inventive musicians without organising something a bit special for the meeting.
Ahead of its release, La Havas sang material from her self-titled third album, which she said was inspired by observing the cycle of death and rebirth in foliage during her five-year hiatus since 2015’s Blood. She has described it as the work “she’s always wanted to make.” The opener Bittersweet sees her voice run free as she sings “Sweet summer rain / I’m born again.” Her songwriting is complex and sophisticated, especially in the quirkily unforgettable Au Cinema from her first collection – a rendition of which was a highlight of the evening.
Her latest release’s lead single is the beautiful Paper Thin. Her voice, which can be so free-ranging and powerful, is hoarse and fragile here. A cover of Radiohead’s Weird Fishes is unexpectedly moreish. She closed the one-woman show with the anthemic Midnight.
Her lovely voice and melodies make one yearn for the time when we can be in the same room with live music again.
Photos: Lianne La Havas
For further information and future events visit Lianne La Havas website here.
Watch the video for Paper Thin here: