'Lianne La Havas gets big love from Koko crowd'

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022 - Credit: André Langlois

Surely Lianne La Havas knows by now that she’s a star?

The Londoner has had three top-ten albums, scooped up awards and been championed by Prince.

Yet there’s a modesty on stage that is rarely seen alongside such a stunning voice and elegant guitar playing.

This month she took a three-night residency at the reopened Koko to a hero’s welcome (“we love you Lianne”).

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022 - Credit: André Langlois

It was one of her first shows back after a break of more than six months but the band are on it, in particular two outstanding backing singers – a part La Havas played early in her career.

She is still “acclimatising” to being back on stage (“I just haven’t been out for a really long time”), but she knows how to work the crowd too, replacing Brixton with a “must have flown a hundred thousand miles to get back to Camden” in Sour Flower, the closing track from 2020’s self titled album.

The set leans heavily on that album, whose release came during Covid. The voice is pure and charged, commanding a genuine hush in quiet tracks like Green Papaya

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022 - Credit: André Langlois

The pace picks up with a Radiohead cover (which is a strange thing to say), Weird Fishes, and Green & Gold from 2015’s Blood, and perhaps the set could do with a bit more funk and rock among the jazz.

Most Read

A brief spell of choreographed dance moves with her backing singers, apparently a spur-of-the-moment decision, was like watching Prince and the Revolution in rehearsal. It would be great to see a fully-fledged stage show embraced.

But for now we’re just blessed to have La Havas back on stage.

Standout track: Forget - Among the woozy beauty, this unhinged masterpiece of choppy guitar and abrasive vocal from Is Your Love Big Enough? stands out: “Forget, that I'm the person tearing you apart!”

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022

Lianne La Havas at Koko on May 9, 2022 - Credit: André Langlois