Monday, July 22

Review: Lianne La Havas at Tramlines

I’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t like Tramlines. Every year the build-up buzzes through Sheffield, enticing locals into a hushed frenzy of giddy anticipation. Even the weather plays along, kindly bestowing some pleasant weather for the one weekend a year we have any reason to play outside.

The vibe is genuinely lovely. I know that ‘Inner city music festival’ plus ‘48 hour drinking’ paints a picture of disgruntled locals and a fight waiting to break out, but everyone is simply happy to be there. Everybody is friendly, chatty and just excellent in general.

This year Tramlines delivered a line up bursting at the seams with over a hundred acts playing over three days. Finishing off the weekend, headliner Lianna La Havas took to the Devonshire Green mainstage.

A relatively new addition to the folk and soul scene, La Havas has quickly made a name for herself through her unique fusion of acoustic ballads and up-tempo, jazz inspired hits. Having released her debut album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ for Warner Bros. last July, La Havas quickly found an enthusiastic fan base, considerable media success and a nomination for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll.

On the final evening of the festival, Lianne La Havas graced the Tramlines mainstage bounding with enthusiasm and an eclectic live band in tow. Before long the crowd was won over, swaying devotedly and hanging on every word, every note.

The atmosphere grew into airborne pins and needles as the audience and La Havas began to sing back and forth in their fiercest roars, along to her acclaimed hit ‘Forget’. La Havas’ performance embodies the festival mentality; it is young, fresh and above all else, fun. Song choices rapidly oscillate between high-tempo hits and emotionally charged ballads, and back again, keeping the crowd on their toes. Each song is belted out with unbridled passion and energy, which is somewhat rare from such a young and comparatively inexperienced performer.

As the sun began to set on Devonshire Green, La Havas bid farewell to a captivated audience with an impressive rendition of her albums namesake ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’, sealing the performance as flawless from beginning to end. At her core, La Havas is beautifully uncomplicated. Her music shuns gimmicks, publicity stunts and quirky tag lines, and instead relies on what a large proportion of the music industry unfortunately lacks; talent. 

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