Lianne La Havas Live at KOKO Camden

Straight to the point. No chat, just jazz. Electrifying guitar riffs and soul-stirring melodies, Lianne La Havas made a graceful return to stage last week at her sold-out residency at Camden’s newly refurbished KOKO. La Havas proved that she is no stranger to the stage and her voice is like no other, and so, is here to stay. 

The south London native’s self-titled record did not disappoint. Different to her previous two LPs, the third record is a starry-eyed summer record, perfect for those long lie-ins in bed, the sunny strolls in the park and the reading your favourite book with your lover under a tree scape. With the delicate guitar strumming and her impressively raspy voice tenor, La Havas belts out personal tales of falling in love, out of love, and those difficult in-between spaces one can often find themselves in. It’s wholeheartedly heart-breaking yet relevant, it’s uplifting and restorative, quite simply, a perfect sentimental mellow evening to experience with someone you love (lover or friend). 

There’s a certain beauty in the companionship between La Havas and her band – it’s quite a beautiful synchronicity to witness as they bring to life the opening number ‘Sour Flower’ and progress to more crowd-pleasing tunes like ‘Can’t Fight’ and ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry.’ My favourite moment personally – is her wonderful cover of Radiohead’s Weird Fishes. It’s an interesting track to cover for sure but her rendition is a beautiful transition to elevating the tempo to her set. It’s easily my favourite moment in her show where the crowd is transfixed with her immense voice and guitar-playing skills, its rolling bass and powerful percussion laying the groundwork in the back – Thom Yorke would approve, I’m sure. 

Her gorgeous low velvety register and incredibly modest presence (and I mean this in the best way possible), La Havas proves that less is more. Her voice remains amongst the most extraordinary, and the likes of her industry reputation remains intact as you really can’t fault the choice of Prince, Alicia Keys, and Erykah Badu. It’s safe to say that this is not the last we’ll see of La Havas and that her fans can rejoice as it has been a long time coming but it seems like Lianne La Havas has returned to the stage for good.

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Photography and Words: Vee Pandey