Bonjay Lawnya Vawnya, St. John's NL, May 22

Bonjay Lawnya Vawnya, St. John's NL, May 22
Photo: Adam Hefferman
Just a few days before Lawnya Vawnya, Alanna Stuart was in Jamaica eating mangos directly from a tree — a big change from the rainy one-degree weather in St. John's. But, as she explained to the attentive crowd at the Rock House, the East coast and the Caribbean aren't really all that different, thanks to the warmth of the people. Or, to put it in her words, "Y'all are real as shit."
This information came during one of several long banter breaks throughout the set, as Stuart spoke about everything from song meanings to her love of local Newfoundland delicacies like Jiggs dinner and figgy duff. Her presence on stage was magnetic, so every tangent was fascinating, no matter how long-winded.
Stuart was equally charismatic when she stuck to singing, as her powerful R&B vocals provided the soulful counterpoint to producer Ian Swain's puling beats. Drawing on dub and EDM, the pulsing future-soul rhythms lifted the party to its peak, and Stuart wisely brought the crowd out of its shell by coaxing everyone up to the front of the floor. Finally, the duo went out on a high note with the dancehall-inflected "Gimme Gimme" and its wordless, chanted scat-rap.
It was a banger of a set — one that was well worth leaving fresh mangos for.