Christ looked down from his stained glass perch onto his unlikely congregation. The faithful had been replaced by a rabble of bleary-eyed hipsters and music lovers who filled the pews and gallery. They held tight onto pints of bitter and cans of strongbow purchased from the improvised bar that had sprung up to replace the old stone font, trying to forget the pain caused by the night before. They were all there to see Lianne La Havas, London’s latest sensation who rise to fame was accelerated by a superb performance on Jools Holland’s Later Live. The gig had originally been set to take place in the more humble surroundings of The Castle Hotel in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, but owing to popular demand it had been shifted to the far more spacious and opulent St Philip’s Church, Salford.
La Havas came on stage to rapturous applause and cheers. She was profoundly humble and thankful for the response, and unbelievably friendly. Her melodic, finger picked guitar work soothed the crowd’s weary souls, lifting them high and sending them soaring through the rafters. Her powerful, soulful voice was amazing. By the end of the night there wasn’t a person in there that hadn’t felt it resonate through every fibre in their body. It certainly wasn’t a normal Sunday service, but no sermon has stirred so much.