Live Review

Shura, Studio Space, London

Her debut UK show, this is a masterclass in tension and restraint from start to finish.

Last night London didn’t look as furious and hell-bent as usual. Taking a night off from screaming continually with sirens and pent-up, burping traffic, the capital’s sky crackled with fireworks instead, and the usual aroma of southern fried chicken was for the most part replaced by bonfires and cinder toffee. There are few occasions when Londoners look at things and shout ‘aah’ without a healthy get-out-clause of sarcasm; tonight is one of them.

In an unassuming second floor loft, Shura is creating her own fireworks. This might be her first live London outing, returning from what she’s dubbed ‘Shu’s Accidental European Tour’, but it quickly becomes apparent that little else is accidental about Shura’s mesmerising live show. Backed by stark neon-strip lighting in a tiny white room crammed quite literally to the rafters - the crowd extends right up the metal stairs running up the side of the room – it’s as blank a canvas as they come. Free from bells, whistles, catherine wheels or other gimmicks, it’s the teary-eyed, heartbreaking wash of pop watercolour that really shines.

‘Touch’ live exudes the same tantalising sense of untouchability that shapes every lyric, and soppy-eyed couples peppering the loft have taken it upon themselves to re-enact scenes from the song’s snogcentric video. ‘Indecision’, meanwhile, just sounds plain magic, soaring guitar lines riding effortlessly over the increasingly steamy haze that’s hypnotising the Studio Space. Shura’s vocals and lyrical frankness on ‘Just Once’ somehow sound even more vulnerable and confiding tonight.

Shura happily professes onstage that she was “shitting myself” beforehand, but by the looks of it, she’s got a gift for channelling any hesitation or edginess straight back into her music. A masterclass in tension and restraint from start to finish, there are few artists around that communicate with the transparency of Shura; least of all ones that nail it with just three singles and three entirely new song airings. If there was previously any indecision hanging in the air, tonight blows it right out of the water – she’s clearly one of music’s most talented and exciting new prospects.

Shura next plays London's Village Underground, 25th March 2015.

Tags: Shura, Neu, Reviews, Live Reviews

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