Last week, a British phenom made her headlining Toronto debut.
At the Opera House, the singer-songwriter gently flicked at her Fender Telecaster, strumming an elegant drone with her eyes set on the back of the room, but seeing something else entirely. “I’ve never known another love who looks at me the way you do,” she sang, hushed and high, “and sees the light, the dark, the truth and my real name.” (Lianne Charlotte Barnes is her real name, though she goes by Lianne La Havas to honour her Greek father, surnamed Vlahavas.)
The graceful Londoner makes soulful folk-pop music, usually concerning relationships. Everything Everything – from her debut LP, Is Your Love Big Enough? – killed softly, while the title track grooved and rose to a Sheryl Crow-Ray Charles occasion.
Judging by the audience’s warm reaction, its love was indeed big enough. As for the room, it will be too small going forward. La Havas, remember the name.