Laura Mvula at the Olympia Theatre, 12th of October 2013
From being Director of her local Gospel Choir to playing Glastonbury on the strength of her first solo record ‘Sing to the Moon’ which garnered a Mercury Music Prize nomination along the way Laura Mvula has had a rapid rise to fame. Mvula’s Dublin performance at The Olympia Theatre is sold out, a feat many established acts fail to achieve, further compounding her sudden prominence.
Mvula eases into the performance with an a cappella tinged version of Like The Morning Dew before adding the key ingredients of brass and percussion to her jazz/soul sound. From behind her keyboard a jovial Mvula sparkles informing the crowd it’s the last night of the tour and she’s in the mood to party. However it would seem that many in the audience are too eager to party and Mvula often struggles to be heard over the chatter. “Sorry, let’s stop” says Laura during Flying Without You; with only hand-claps for accompaniment the song requires a hushed room to be effective. It’s hard to know why the crowd seem so disinterested, perhaps a fully seated show may have been a more sensible option. It’s an unfortunate turn of events for a bemused-looking Laura Mvula and the sections of the assembled audience that yearned to hear what they paid for.
She eventually regains control of the crowd with the infectious hand-clapping of Green Garden where she begins to excel, getting the audience to clap in unison with the band. That’s Alright’s big brassy sing-along chorus of “who made you the centre of the universe” continues the new-found sense of unity in the room and it’s clear that everyone onstage is having fun including a relieved-looking Mvula.
Getting a Mercury Prize nomination can lead to a lot of attention and name-plugs, it’s a different matter turning this into a genuine fan base. While the crowd turn up in their droves, initially it’s hard to tell if they are there because of the act or because of the novelty of checking out a prize-nominated artist. What is clear is that Laura Mvula is a very talented singer, with a great voice and a knack for writing good soul music. Here’s hoping for a more attentive audience next time around.
Laura Mvula Photo Gallery
Photos: Shaun Neary