Catching a concert comes with a variety of experiences. For example, sometimes the headliner on a bill outshines the opening act(s) so much that those in attendance wonder, ‘why the hell didn’t I just show up for the last half of this show?’ Other times, the support on the bill is the highlight of the night, noteworthy beyond any of the predictable offerings from the headliner. And on the perfect occasion, the mix of talent at a concert is just right. At the El Rey Theater this past Thursday night we had exactly that experience with standout performances from both Jaime N Commons and Lianne La Havas.
It may come as a surprise to many that London born artist Jamie N Commons was actually raised between both Chicago and the UK. With this transatlantic savviness, the bright singer songwriter opened the evening’s show with his track “Lead Me Home”, which was also recently featured in the incredible AMC series The Walking Dead. Near the end of his solo performance of the gloomy track (which is a perfect pairing for the Georgia based zombie thiller), Commons’ band joined him on stage. Together they rocked through his 2013 release Rumble And Sway EP. With pitch perfect, four-part harmonies, and back woods rock and roll, Jaime and the gang killed it. Song after song, the audience warmed up, culminating to an apex when Jamie closed his set with “Wash Me In The Water”. The raspy, whiskey infused rock that Jaime brings, feels like a bullseye, and with more opening dates to come with folk/soul princess Lianne La Havas, Jaime N Commons fans should expect this to be one of the hotter tickets touring the states this Spring.
With a small set change and an increasingly excited crowd, KCRW DJ Jason Kramer pumped up the crowd right before Lianne La Havas hit the stage. She opened to the loving crowd with “No Room For Doubt”. A side note: while both Lianne and Jaime recently weathered SXSW, you certainly couldn’t tell any grueling signs from their haul in Austin. The young 23 London native, Lianne La Havas looked and sounded stunning as ever. The adoring crowd howled and shouted after different vocal runs. She was without doubt great, but frankly she could have probably done anything on stage and still received such a warm reception. Turning her audience into human percussionist, and in playing select songs from her standout 2012 debut Is Your Love Big Enough?, Lianne La Havas proved her powerful impact on both sides of the Pond.
Review By Brian Litwin
Photography By Martin Santacruz Jr
Lianne La Havas (Official)
Jamie N Commons (Official)