Review: Laura Mvula live at Bowery Ballroom

Posted by The G on May 21, 2013 under Encounters with G, G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula

Here’s a name you need to know:  Laura Mvula.  The British singer played her first headlining show in New York on May 20, 2013 at Bowery Ballroom and obviously, it was sold out.  She had to move the show from the originally scheduled (and much smaller venue) Mercury Lounge date to accommodate overwhelming demand for tickets.  Makes perfect sense to me.  After a great set by Irish singer Foy Vance, whose voice has an a quality not unlike the voice of Ray LaMontagne, Laura Mvula (pronounced “M.  Voola”) hit the stage at 9:30 PM.

Foy Vance

Foy Vance

This was my second time seeing Foy Vance and just like the first time I saw him, before the end of the show, he got the entire crowd singing along.  He mentioned that he has a new album coming out eminently, so you should definitely check out his music if you are looking to hear the music of a singer/songwriter who has an insanely great voice.

Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula’s music, if you aren’t already familiar with it, has elements of soul and jazz and the internet rightly has mentioned a Nina Simone/Amy Winehouse -esque quality to her voice.  In between songs, she told stories about what she was going to play for us and had mentioned that earlier in the day, one of her heroes, Jill Scott, tweeted her seal of approval to Laura.  Several hours later, she received the seal of approval from New York as she received thunderous applause after each song.

Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula

Like some of the “new school” of amazingly talented singers such as Adele, Emeli Sande, Lianne La Havas and Jessie Ware, Laura Mvula has quite a few slow songs that showcase her amazing voice and then when the pace picks up on the faster songs, the performance space turns into an impromptu dance party (see the upbeat “Green Garden” for example).  We thought the encore would be final song of the night  – a stripped down version of “Human Nature,” (yes, the Michael Jackson song!) but the crowd was not having any part of letting Laura Mvula end the show.  Overwhelming applause brought Laura back for a second encore and performed a reprise of “She.”  Her debut album “Sing to the Moon” is out now and if you liked any of the descriptions mentioned above, you’d be foolish not to get it.

See the setlist after the jump.

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Review: Foy Vance/Marcus Foster/Michael Kiwanuka at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Posted by The G on September 24, 2012 under Encounters with G, G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka

On September 21, 2012, not only was it my dad’s birthday, but Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn hosted a trio of great singers all in one great evening.  Headlining was Michael Kiwanuka and the openers were Foy Vance and Marcus Foster.

Foy Vance

Foy Vance

Ireland’s Foy Vance kicked off the show and though his set was very short, he packed a powerful punch.  His voice was so powerful that he hardly needed to use a microphone, although he did.  His music is folk-based rock and he played piano as well as guitar.  He got the crowd warmed up for a great night and on his final song “Guiding Light,” he had the audience singing along even after he left the stage.  I’ve never seen that before!

Marcus Foster

Marcus Foster

Britain’s Marcus Foster was up second and like Foy Vance, his music is folk-rock.  Also like Foy Vance, Marcus Foster has a great and powerful voice.  Marcus joked around with the audience in between songs and he mentioned his gratitude to be playing on Michael Kiwanuka’s tour.  You can hear some of Marcus Foster’s music on his official website.

Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka

British soul/folk singer Michael Kiwanuka was the headliner and he capped off an evening of great music.  Though he’s been compared to Otis Redding and Bill Withers, he sort of reminded me of Joe Cocker – but without the rasp in his voice.  Backed by a 5 piece band, there were moments of soul, funk, blues and folk in his hour long set.  Before launching into a cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “May This Be Love,” Kiwanuka dedicated the track to Jimi and said that Hendrix was one of the people who inspired him to make music.  Kiwanuka’s debut album “Home Again” is a contender for the coveted Mercury Prize award and we wish him the best.

After the jump, see Michael Kiwanuka’s set list as well as photos of me with the above mentioned singers, because if you are a reader of this site, you know that I like to get the full concert experience when I go out.

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