Lana Lubany live at The Great Escape: behold a future pop superstar at work

Fabrica, May 11: the Palestinian-American artist's debut appearance at the Brighton festival signals the arrival of a formidable new talent

It feels like the stained glass windows that adorn Fabrica may smash into pieces. On stage in this former church, Lana Lubany is stomping in tandem with a loud, room-shaking bass drop, perfectly in sync. As she moves her body, exaggerating her neck rolls and stretching her arms outwards, she energises a typically stoic late evening crowd. This, clearly, is a display of pop showmanship you can’t teach.

Lubany, a superbly confident songwriter from Gaffa, Palestine, is truly in her own lane. What this evening’s (May 11) venue’s big sound system bulldozes, she makes up for in shock and awe. Debuting songs from her forthcoming project ‘The Holy Land’ at Brighton’s The Great Escape festival, the 25-year-old flits between English and Arabic as she sings, contrasting tranquil moments of ASMR-worthy production with booming choruses. Opener ‘Where’s My Iris’ is heralded by blinding white, green and red lights, while Lubany’s producer and guitarist Ben Thompson, provides a gentle acoustic accompaniment to her vocal prowess.

It helps that Lubany has a store of undeniably great songs to draw upon. After landing a bonafide hit in electro-pop ballad ‘The Snake’ – performed tonight with plenty of expressive hand gestures – Lubany has moved to the forefront of a global breakthrough for Arabic music, garnering millions of views across TikTok alongside her close friend and tourmate, Saint Levant. She acknowledges this movement, breaking up customary gig lines (“How are you guys feeling?”) with speeches that honour this current breakdown of traditional music industry gatekeeping.

Lana Lubany
Credit: Sophie Harrow


There is a folky simplicity to ‘Point Of No Return’, while ‘Clones’ indulges in the full-body, restless funk of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Justified’ era, representing a more subdued aura – at least until Lubany breaks into ‘Sold’. The track is so full-bodied in its theatrical swoops that it makes the rest of Lubany’s performance feel merely like a warm up.

You’d be hard-pushed to think that Lubany isn’t entertainingly OTT, compounded by the way she visibly feels every rhythm. It’s mildly disappointing, then, that Lubany chooses to sing over a fairly muddy backing track; the support of backing singers would certainly better accentuate her own delivery. Overcoming these technical pitfalls, however, will be pivotal to Lubany realising her full potential as a performer.

Yet it’s one thing to write a collection of bilingual pop songs and watch them go viral in countries that don’t speak the language. It’s another to perform them with such serious heart and gusto, taking cultural tradition and crafting it into an arena-baiting experience.

Lana Lubany played:

‘Where’s My Iris’
‘Point Of No Return’
‘On My Way’
‘The Snake’


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