|Lianne La Havas|
Four girls with talent and wit took over the Empire, unintentionally building up a four-day showcase for the female soul wave (in the broader sense of the term) currently splashing the UK. The ladies at the helm were none other than the much talked-about (and advertised) Lianne La Havas (11 & 12/3) and Jessie Ware (13 & 14/3).
But I first have to stress out, in all fairness, that I'm not a great soul fan. Unless we're talking Marvin Gaye or (to hit the 21st century roster) Lee Fields & the Expressions, I hardly have any patience with their soft rhythms and moaning vocals.
La Havas's Forget (http://bit.ly/12UmCX5) and No Room For Doubt (http://bit.ly/z7cOVw) were beautiful live, as we know them on record. Ware, on the other hand, was a different deal; I had to compartmentalize, admiring her vocals and the sensual backing rhythms - most evident in Running (http://bit.ly/Q8bkXF) - separately and at my own time. Despite her talent, most of her songs ring a rather trendy bell. She interestingly broke conventions with the numerous choral guests from Goldsmiths College, who further enhanced her vocals and added to them (and the general surprise effect) with an artsy dance routine.
An original soul blend was what Ware's second opening act, Laura Mvula, was effortlessly able to capture. She dressed the beats with an interesting angle and a commanding presence. Her single Green Garden (http://bit.ly/W1C40c) is by itself a joy.
All in all, the above gigs are judged by their highlights. There was plenty of space for me, personally, to drift and disengage (I also couldn't help but notice that Ware's fans talked more among them than actually paid attention; but then a lot of them kept dancing...).
But hey, you can't win them all; especially when they drool over the mere sound of Black Flag.
Text by Danai Molocha, photography kindly borrowed from the web.