Live Review

Shura, Village Underground, London

25th March 2015

Her music hits right in the emotional schnozzle.

The last time Shura played a show in London, it was a intimate affair in a white-washed attic packed out to the rafters with members of her trusty ‘Touch’-brigade; the gaggle of mates who starred in her first music video. Village Underground, watched over by a gigantic banner of Shura’s magnified face, and drenched in pink light, offers up a different and scarier kettle of fish. And, as you’d imagine, getting a kettle of fish to reach boiling point is a daunting prospect.

Keeping her cards close to her chest at first, she kicks things off with two brand new songs; ‘Figure Stuff Out’ and ‘Kids n’ Stuff’. They’re far murkier affairs than the sharp climbing synth-lines of ‘Touch’, or the punchy early-Madonna undercurrent of ‘Indecision’. Instead they serve as little experimental previews of which direction Shura could swerve in next, and her set is a playful, relaxed one, with a vocal line altered here, or an extra Balearic flourish sprinkled onto ‘Indecision’; having made its way across from the 12” edit Shu hid away on her vinyl release. Later on there’s even an unexpected, but euphoric re-imagining of ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ by 80s new wavers Fine Young Cannibals. As a whole there’s a lot of road-testing going on tonight, and by-and-large Shura finds her feet, with final song ‘White Light’ reaching the spiralling heights of carefully tensioned heartbreak on the dancefloor.

Though sluggish sound in the venue slightly hinders ‘Touch,’ ‘Indecision’ and ‘Just Once,’ - they’re missing just a tiny bit of punchy crispness - they still sound pretty stupendous anyway, and the whole room bawls itself hoarse in response. Whether her music induces the mass-snogging across the venue tonight, or teary-eyed listening sessions in dark bedrooms, Shura has the most important ingredient of all, and it’s one that you can’t buy in the corner shop. She’s got a knack for connection. When people listen to her music, it hits them right in the emotional schnozzle.

It’s easy to forget that, despite the joyful pop immediacy of her massive singles, Shura’s output so far is coloured, lyrically, by sadness, lost love and near-misses, and her honesty does something special. Fast becoming a master of the deliciously melancholy, and in the middle of writing her debut album, tonight confirms that whatever Shura does, and wherever her experiments take her next, she’s one of the most exciting new names in pop.

Photos: Abi Dainton

Tags: Shura, Reviews, Live Reviews

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