Live Review: Léa Sen – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds. 20.05.23

Plenty of people came down early to listen to Léa Sen, Parisien ex-pat, now based in London, as she opened up for Billie Marten on this current tour. The 23 year old singer-songwriter has lit up the scene in London, becoming one of the most in-demand talents, and from this short, but exquisitely crafted 6-song set, it’s easy to see why.

Sen is quite unassuming as she takes the stage, but as she opens the set, there’s an assured self-confidence that puts the audience at ease. She talks to the audience with a disarming, self-deprecating tone, admitting to us all how much she is fangirling over Marten, sharing that she is pinching herself because she’s sharing the tour van and “feels like one of the band”. This leads into what Sen believes is “Billie’s favourite song” – Dragonfly – a song that’s about two personalities, “because everyone’s a little crazy!”

Léa’s guitar playing is delicate and skilful, and richly accompanies some captivating lyrics. Looking back into the audience, all you can see is enraptured faces, hanging on every word. Nowhere is this more evident than in Lobby Boy – still in demo form, performed against a backing track as she “hasn’t learned the guitar parts yet!” What that means is Léa emerges from behind her guitar for the first time and this allows her silky vocal to shine even more, while she dances to the rhythm of this as yet unfinished piece.

Finishing with (no), from her latest EP You Of Now, Pt. 2 wraps up an elegant set, full of accomplished, folky electronic guitar and flawless lyrics, and one that, if that was the end of the gig, would have sent everyone home feeling replete.

The tour with Billie Marten continues before gigs with Speakers Corner Quartet and culminating at Glastonbury in June:

23 May | The Cluny, Newcastle*
24 May | St Lukes, Glasgow*
26 May | Lafayette, London*
27 May | Lafayette, London*
1 Jun | Laylow, London
2 Jun | Roundhouse, London^
25 Jun | Glastonbury Festival, UK^

* with Billie Marten
^ with Speaker’s Corner Quartet

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