The opening act for Laura Mvula was Washington based Olivier St. Louis.
Olivier and his band warmed the crowd up perfectly for Laura, getting the packed to the brim Leadmill to all act like cats and dogs within the first few minutes of his set.
Laura entered the stage to complete darkness, then bursting into Overcome, from her ‘The Dreaming Room’ album, which gave her a second Mercury Prize nomination.
Playing tracks from both that album and her debut ‘Sing To The Moon’, Laura had the Sheffield crowd captivated, and also got them moving when the time came to it. The title track from her debut album was a highlight of the set for me as it showed off just how good of a live performer she is.
Laura was a great presence on stage, being completely serious when needing to be during emotional tracks, but knowing when to have a laugh with the audience, noting that on the previous night of her tour in Cambridge she cried during one of her songs so “if it happens again tonight, just pretend like nothing is happening”
Ending her main set with her biggest hits to date, Green Garden and Phenomenal Woman, Laura got the very busy Leadmill moving. Coming back on for a cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Be My Husband’, she left Sheffield to rapturous, appreciating applause that was very much deserved.