Many performance artists interact with their audience, but rarely does that ever register as authentic.
Whenever a musician tells the crowd he is so happy to be performing in this beautiful city, you always get the sneaking suspicion he says that to all the cities, and his thank yous begin to sound more and more like “you’re welcome.”
“Hi, guys,” Lianne La Havas said to her Dinkytown audience early in her set. “I’m so excited to see you. Thank you very, very much.”
Every word came across sincere.
La Havas’ performance came in support of her sophomore album “Blood,” in which she explores her Jamaican roots. At the top of her set was “Green & Gold” from that album, a coolly confident strut that traces La Havas’ self-discovery — opening on herself at six years old staring at her nose in the mirror to a chorus that finds her as an adult dreaming of Jamaica.
This segued into “Is Your Love Big Enough?,” a huge, celebratory track that gave her debut album its name, and caused one of the cymbals to fly off the tambourine during the performance.
The energy of the opening songs and the harsh stage lights had La Havas regretting her choice of attire. “I immediately regret leather sleeves,” she said, smiling. “But it’s okay because I’m with friends.”
A third of the way through the set, La Havas’ band left the stage and she performed a pair of songs solo, which really placed a spotlight on her innate ability to blend technical virtuosity with genuine feeling.
“I love you!” a fan said from the crowd.
“I love you more!” another said.
“I love you all a lot,” La Havas replied.
Upon returning for her encore, La Havas beamed at the audience who cheered her back on stage. “This is the best job in the world,” she said. “Thank you for making it a possibility.”
Green & Gold
Is Your Love Big Enough?
Au Cinema (which interpolated Pharrell’s “Happy”)
What You Don’t Do
No Room For Doubt
Lost & Found
Never Get Enough