Sharon Van Etten has hit something of a homerun this year with her third album Tramp winning critics and fans alike with its emotional honesty and lustrous orchestration. With tonight's show sold-out, and another UK date already pencilled in at the bigger Shepherd's Bush Empire for later this year, her performance this evening is met with unbridled anticipation.

Diving head-first into the deep-end of Tramps' dark soul 'All I Can' opens the set and in doing so loses most of its intensity along the way. 'Warsaw' and 'Save Yourself' pick-up some of the lost momentum, culminating in a ferocious version of 'Don't Do It' setting the pace for the rest of the set after an unsteady start.

Backed by a full-band for most songs, musically all the nuts and bolts are in the right place tonight as Van Etten herself jokes with a line from The Office, "professionalism is…and that is what I want." Her voice is flawless soaring effortlessly and almost surreally over the crowd on the stripped back 'Tornado', her frame barely flinching from its' weight. The band's also tight; 'Don't Do It' is reworked with an extended intro performed by keyboardist and fellow vocalist looping harmonies to Van Etten's howl and all of the tracks are given added layers. The musicianship is more or less seamless bar only a couple of minor slip-ups, like the stunted start of 'Leonard' and Van Etten forgetting some of the words to 'One Day', but it's barely noticeable.

Van Etten herself is disarmingly chatty onstage, completely at ease and talking as if to a friend over a coffee as she gives insights into some of the tracks in-between songs; how 'Serpents' was written in her basement when she was 'pissed off listening to PJ Harvey' and how people thinks she sings 'pissing' during the chorus to 'Warsaw' instead of 'peace signs'.

So, why does it feel like there's something's missing? Somehow the beauty of Van Etten's voice and the songs captured so magically on record is lost tonight in the empty void of the Scala's walls. There's something quite one-dimensional to it all, maybe it's because it's a record that so personal, not just to Van Etten but to the listener, that it needs to be heard with minimal fuss and distraction? No people passing beers to their mates, talking loudly and even fighting (like during 'One Day' in the encore) – just Van Etten in a quiet room with her guitar.

It's not that tonight's show is without its memorable moments; 'Serpents' drives hard with a vitriolic velocity, 'Tornado' played by just Van Etten and her guitar is sweet and tender and 'Love More' is even more dreamy reworked without Van Etten's harmonium. It just leaves you wanting more.