Anyone who has heard Lianne La Havas’ debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, will tell you just how great the young Brit is on record, and as I learned during her March 2013 stop by LA’s El Rey Theatre (one of the first shows I covered for LA Music Blog), she’s equally skilled in front of an audience. Her unique voice as a singer and musician combined with a sound that pays tribute to classic soul and R&B caught me by surprise, and I’ve been following her career ever since.

Though she was barely old enough to legally drink in the US when she first got here, her music boasts a maturity far beyond her years. How she has grown as a songwriter and musician since releasing her debut will be revealed when her sophomore album, Blood, is released on July 31st, but last week the songstress gave her US fans a preview with a sold-out show at The Troubadour in support of the new album.

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La Havas set the tone for the night by opening with a few new tunes, the first of which, “Unstoppable,” is a perfect example of how to kick off a great live show. The repetition of the line “We are unstoppable” proved to ring true as the singer and her band could do no wrong that night.

From the moment she walked on stage in a flowing, stylish, ’70s-era pantsuit, the audience seemingly had no choice but to scream their devotion to La Havas. As soon as a song would end, shouts of things like “I love you so much,” “We love your hair,” and “I sing that song in the shower every morning” would emanate from the crowd.

La Havas pulled equally from her two releases, giving the audience plenty to sing along to while allowing room to introduce her new material. By including older songs, such as the title track to her first album and “Au Cinema,” one of the sexiest songs from the last several years, she kept the packed crowd happy while still playing what she wanted.

La Havas also showcased her versatility as an artist, leading a full band featuring guitar, bass, keys, drums, and a back-up singer for several songs, then following that up by performing alone on stage with just her guitar. On her newer material, she even drops her guitar for a few minute to only sing — her dexterity and dynamics are equally blood pumping and heart wrenching.

There is something magical about experiencing the beginning of a new tour in support of a new album in the intimacy of a venue like The Troubadour, and the excitement of being part of something so fresh and untested was more than worth the price of the ticket. Lianne La Havas is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists thanks to her smooth voice, pristine guitar playing, and ability to project her soul both live and on record, and I can’t wait for Blood to be spilled on July 31st.

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La Havas is now taking a break to tweak the performance and properly release the new album, but in September and October she’ll spend just over a month on the road, spreading the word of Blood. If you missed her show at The Troubadour, don’t worry; she’ll be back in LA for two more amazing nights, one at The Fonda and one at The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever.

Lianne La Havas Tour Dates:

09/23 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
09/25 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
09/26 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
09/28 – Royale – Boston, MA
09/29 – Corona Theatre – Montreal, QC
10/02 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON
10/03 – St. Andrew’s Hall – Detroit, MI
10/04 – Park West – Chicago, IL
10/06 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
10/08 – Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB
10/09 – MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary – Calgary, AB
10/11 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC
10/12 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
10/14 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
10/16 – The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
10/18 – House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
10/19 – Masonic Lodge, Hollywood Forever – Los Angeles, CA
10/20 – The Observatory-Northpark – San Diego, CA
10/22 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX
10/23 – Emo’s – Austin, TX
10/25 – Center Stage – Atlanta, GA

For more info:

Lianne La Havas