Reminisce and Review: Lianne La Havas @ Roundhouse (2020)

Angelic voices and gentle strums of the guitar on centre stage in the Roundhouse — Lianne La Havas performs a one-off show live-streamed from London.

Returning from a five-year hiatus with a new self-titled album ‘Lianne La Havas’, the singer-songwriter donated all proceeds from the show to Black Lives Matter-related organisations.

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Lianne La Havas via Twitter

On Wednesday 15 July 2020, the performance began with Lianne poised on stage—perched like a nightingale. With her mere presence, she sprinkled daintiness into each corner of the dimly-lit room. With melodies sweeter than sugarcane, Lianne’s voice stirred and hung in the air at odds with the metallic arches that formed the Roundhouse’s iconic circular structure.

Accompanying vocalist Mariama Frida Touray stood to the left of the stage; beside her, there was a floral-adorned amp and an antique lamp, barely lighting the space it occupied. An armchair decorated with pink and white flowers rested centre stage behind Lianne, and to the right, black and white portraits posed on a stool. Each of the vintage-aesthetic furnishings came together to set the mood of a warm summer’s evening.

Lianne La Havas via LORD MAYERS (Instagram)

The multi-camera angles transmitted intimacy from what felt like Lianne’s living room through the screen. With a minimal set and crew, the blend of folk and soul was as soothing as honey, drizzling over the tumultuous times, momentarily healing wounds sore from the incessant crises. Lianne played an ensemble of love ballads from her third studio album as well as old favourites from ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ (2012) and ‘Blood’ (2015).

On what would have been another dull night under the lockdown, Lianne’s exquisite vocals projected earnest lyrics of ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Paper Thin’ into the ether. With viewers at home rising and falling to the sound of her voice, Lianne left us engrossed in the tale of heartache.

No more hanging around, oh
No more hanging around, oh
Now my sun’s going down, oh
Telling me something isn’t right, something isn’t right, oh

Bittersweet summer rain
I’m born again
All my broken pieces
Bittersweet summer rain
I’m born again

‘Bittersweet’ from the live performance featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

After a short pause in the break, Lianne slipped out of a boxy pastel jumper and wide-length black trousers into a long red, yellow and green string-dress with a black leather jacket to finish the look. She sang her last songs with such passion that the tassels on her arms rocked back and forth. The outfit change thrust her Jamaican heritage into the spotlight and feels like a break from the naivety of her early days—a wiser and more seasoned artist has flowered. Hello to the new, emboldened Lianne La Havas.

Lianne La Havas via Lianne (Instagram)

Want to discover more about Lianne? Listen to her episode of The Green Room Press, where she describes the perfect room; sharing advice that legendary artist Prince gave her, musical inspirations, favourite films, sayings from her grandmother and other things she holds dear.

Listen to the original performance Live At The Roundhouse:

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