sat 20/07/2024

Nadine Shah, SWG3, Glasgow review - loudly dancing the night away | reviews, news & interviews

Nadine Shah, SWG3, Glasgow review - loudly dancing the night away

Nadine Shah, SWG3, Glasgow review - loudly dancing the night away

The songstress offered both a commanding voice and an almost overwhelming sound.

Nadine Shah proved a commanding presence in GlasgowTim Topple

First Nadine Shah raised hopes, then dashed them. “I’ve never had a dance off onstage before,” she observed at one point, impressed by the shapes a crowd member was cutting, before confirming it wouldn’t be happening on this evening either. You’d have backed Shah to triumph too, given how the rest of the gig showcased her skills with style.

Dressed in a black power suit that suggested she could tangle with Melanie Griffth and Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl, Shah has both a superb voice and a terrific stage presence. She prowled around on the opening “Even Light”, all nervy, tense rhythms, before bursting into life with sudden, sharp movements. This was a contrast throughout the night, between the emotive power when her voice was in full flight, and the gleeful, sliding dancing when her four-piece band let loose.

At times the sheer force of her band could run amok a bit too much. For those unfamiliar with the Glasgow venue, SWG3 is essentially a warehouse turned clubbing and gigging hotspot, and depending on your location the industrial level of noise from her rhythm section could overwhelm other aspects of her songs, a problem particularly apparent on a sludgy “Sad Lads Anonymous” early on.

It was a sound that even Shah’s vocal was obscured by, and there were a few numbers that tilted too far towards being sheer noise and nothing but.

When the balance worked though, it was superb. “Fast Food”, one of only a handful of oldies in a set dominated by this year’s Filthy Underneath album, was like a totemic opera, all sound, fury and drama wrapped up together. The following “Ladies for Babies” was equally ferocious, with an invigorating finale where the singer spat out her words with relish, while a lights show bathed the audience in red and blue consistently.

Yet the material from her latest work was what carried the gig, chiefly by marrying her backing band’s din with a sleek pop engine. The early twang of “Topless Mother” felt like the best accompaniment to a Quentin Tarrentino film the director has never had, while there was a great big glam stomp rumbling throughout “Greatest Dancer”, the song that provoked such attention from Shah towards the audience’s movements.

In contrast, the pared-back “Hyperrealism” succeeded through dropping a heavy sound in favour of letting Shah’s voice dominate, and in the process offered a reminder of what a commanding singer she is. It also caused her to thank the crowd for being mostly quiet throughout it, a statement that is not often a compliment at a gig. Here it was though, and Shah herself seemed to be greatly enjoying herself onstage, at ease in her surroundings.

A sedate atmosphere could never last long, and thankfully the closing one-two punch of “Trad”, all rat-a-tat driving beat, and the pugilistic “Out the Way” delivered both noise and melody to provide a vibrant, ear-ringing and, yes, danceable conclusion.

Shah herself seemed to be greatly enjoying herself onstage, at ease in her surroundings.


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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