Concert Review | Singer-songwriter steals hearts in intimate show

**** (4 out of 6 stars); February 22 at Lille Vega

I turned up at a semi-filled Lille Vega Wednesday night not really knowing what to expect from singer-songwriter Kina Grannis's concert. Two hours later, I – just as the rest of the crowd – left with a smile on my face and searing rays of optimism in my heart.

Grannis's show was preceded by a cheery, imaginative and emotionally charged warm-up performance from acoustic folk pop guitarist and singer, Imaginary Friend, who played several well-crafted opening tunes – interwoven with a series of jokes and impromptu humour that did their bit to lighten the mood.

California-born Kina Grannis, accompanied by her cello player, stepped onto the smoky scene and opened with the adequately placed ‘World In Front of Me’ – featured on her highly revered 2011 album Stairwells. Several songs in and the soft-spoken Grannis had the audience entranced in a spellbinding sequence of well-performed tunes accompanied by lively pauses in which she interacted with the crowd with admirable prowess.

Grannis delivered a mix of solo and cello-accompanied songs that showcased the full depth of her abilities. In fact – apart from a cover of Britney Spears' ‘Oops, I did it again’, that didn't quite tick in the tune of the rest of the songs on the night – Wednesday's concert was as picture perfect as they come. Unsurprisingly, the audience called her back to the stage for a final trio of songs that capped off an epic concert – with a full band cover of Coldplay's ‘Fix You’ rounding things off with flair and sentiment, after her new song ‘Little Warrior’ did its bit to set the tone for a grand finale of mesmerising proportions.

Many of Kina's growing fan base know her from her popular YouTube channel or Facebook and Twitter, on which she readily admits to using a fair bit to express herself in the modern day of limitless technologies. It goes without saying that she's a lot better live than she is on any of the aforementioned platforms, as last night's show proved. With a unique stage presence and a willingness to involve the audience as much as possible in her show, she certainly does stand out from other musicians of her calibre and is definitely a name to look out for in the near future.