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Sunday, 24 July 2016



Green & Sunshine.

Festival fever broke through the clouds of another British Summer today as a ray of light hit the centre stage of the Liverpool International Music Festival (the anagram friendly LIMF...easy now!), hosted by the good people of the stunning, scenic Sefton Park in Beatles town just a few miles from Penny Lane. This night was headlined by more hometown heroes like The Wombats bringing to a close a four day festival circut that featured the explosive likes of Ms Dynamite, maestro Maverick Sabre and Red Dwarf's Craig Charles on the ones and twos, but it was the woman with the best album of last year still on repeat (her stellar sophomore set 'Blood') who amongst all this green was gold.

Lianne La Havas' reputation proceeds her. Grammy nominated after passing Jools Holland's 'Later' grey whistle test. World tours supporting the colourful Coldplay's latest and greatest live circus after working with the late, great Prince (the purple one was a close personal friend who even announced his infamous, iconic 'Hit N Run' guerilla tour from Lianne's living room...her actual living room!! After vegan pancakes we're sure (is that a thing?)).  And two testifying albums, 'Is Your Love Big Enough' and 'Blood', surviving seeing the red of a sophomore slump and bleeding new life into the young star. No wonder the biggest British soul singer since Corinne Bailey Rae (who is back this year supporting Lionel Richie with her wonderful new record 'The Heart Speaks In Whispers' (you can see the inspiration)), is also one of the best singer/songwriters of this next generation that we have the world.

And it only took this red and blue town in a field fit for a game a half of football to see and hear why as La Havas cut through records from two classic 45's, for what would be almost an hour for your moneys worth if this whole thing wasn't free! Yep that's right like the LIMF sort of says like Luther (Vandross not Elba), "the best festivals in life are free". And the former Capital of Culture and now the one of Lambananas got to see the once and future queen of soulful guitar music without giving up any silver for the 'Green and Gold' singer. Lianne opened proceedings with 'Au Cinema' a soundtrack worthy of the retro inspired drive in movie theatre on the other side of the city, the milleniaal, call to respond break-up anthem 'Forget' and more in the form of her first albums self-titled track. But it was when she moved on to promoting her latest material that she really showed she was 'Unstoppable' as the atmospheric, runaway single suggests. This couped with the Jamaican and Greek heritage of 'G & G' from L.L. really gave the LIMF something to initial.

Still, real highlights from a setlist of real instrumentation, from the vocals to the chords of tracks like the grand 'Grow' and the 'Midnight' closer, included Havas' taking this writer back to the electric lonesome, neon streets of this Springs Shibuya, Japan with her found in translation track 'Tokyo' and her own take on the Aretha signature 'I Say A Little Prayer' which showed so much respect and Franklin love forever, forever! You wouldn't want to take any coffee break time during this superb setlist, even if you have been waiting all week and day for it. Bless her with another album and year and Lianna La Havas will be headlining her own shows you'll even beg to pay to see. Just you wait! Because right now with that you see for free she does more in three quarters of an hour than most do in that much of their career. From Tokyo to zero, dot, double zero her time is now. You listening? Just watch! It's in her blood. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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