A few thoughts after seeing Lianne La Havas’ Twin Cities debut Sunday at the Varsity Theater:
• The rising British pop-soul star was genuinely taken by the turnout (about 500) and the reception (very enthusiastic).
• In her 75-minute set, the 23-year-old came across as very talented. As a vocalist, she was more impressive live than on her encouraging debut disc, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” As a performer, she was confident, friendly and quite
• As a singer, La Havas reminded me, at various times, of Sade, Alicia Keys and Corinne Bailey Rae – only she’s stronger and more versatile vocally than those stars. She has an accomplished sense of vocal dynamics.
• Her artistry was more impressive than her band. Her drummer, Jay Sikora, was too loud, aggressive and distracting from the allure of her organic soul sound. La Havas was most impressive when she was accompanying herself on electric guitar or it was just her voice and James Wyatt’s electric keyboards.
• La Havas’ balladry seems inspired by Prince.
• Was Prince, an admitted fan who has covered La Havas’ “Lost & Found” in his shows, there? We suspect he was observing from the "royal box" in the mezzanine, which was closed to the rest of the concertgoers. (That's where he sat for Janelle Monae a few years ago.)
• Liked La Havas’ look. A highly stylized white peplum dress, with what looked like an oversized necklace in the shape of a Mickey Mouse silhouette.
• Highlights included “Lost & Found,” “Gone” (when she got lost in her singing) and “Age,” her playful ditty about romancing an older man.
Here is Sunday’s set list:
No Room for Doubt/ Au Cinema/ Everything Everything/ Is Your Love Big Enough/ Tease Me/ Gone/Forget/ Weird Fishes>Arpeggi (Radiohead)/ Lost & Found/ Don’t Wake Me Up ENCORE Empty/ Elusive/ Age
PHOTO BY TONY NELSON