Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17

Nadine Shah / Life

Band On The Wall, Manchester, UK

16th October 2017
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 
Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17 2The Band On The Wall is one of Manchester’s longest running venues, the building has undergone extensive refurbishment in recent years and as it’s set to expand further it thankfully looks like a live venue that is here to stay. Tonight the Band On The Wall is playing host to Nadine Shah who is touring in support of her stunning new album, Holiday Destination, which for me is easily her finest full length to date, and one that marks a distinct change in style from her 2015 album, Fast Food. Nadine Shah has bought up and coming Hull quartet Life along as support on her UK tour, who are touring in support of their impressive debut album, Popular Music, that was released earlier this year.
 
Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17 3 LifeLife nonchalantly take the stage before launching into their set, one that is heavily inspired by the post punk bands of the late seventies and early eighties such as The Fall and The Au Pairs , but it’s not one that’s embedded in the past as it also carries elements from the heavier end of indie, such as early Maximo Park and The Vines, as well as their own unique sound and style and as their frontman Mez is a permanently hyperactive presence, both on and off the stage, the result is that they are a mesmerising live act. The sound in the refurbished Band On The Wall is absolutely spot on and their album’s hyperactive and eccentric title track makes me decide to pick up a copy of their album after the show. Their appearance on Nadine Shah‘s tour makes for a perfect introduction to a band I haven’t previously encountered, they declare their band name is taken from the phrase ‘choose life’, and on the basis of tonight’s performance I’d recommend you do just that.
 
Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17 4Nadine Shah is unique, for me no one is doing anything remotely close to her material, and even when you think you’ve pigeonholed her she will shift, a tactic that has seen her deliver three radically different albums that are unified by her haunting vocals and personal song writing, a combination that has seen the Band On The Wall sold out well in advance of tonight’s show. Nadine Shah‘s latest album displayed more of a post punk attitude than her two previous albums, Love Your Dum And Mad and Fast Food, something that reflects the stark political subject matter of much of her new album and as her band is now augmented by a sax player this only adds to the post punk direction that her new material carries. Her five piece band add muscle to her material live and frees Nadine Shah up to strut the stage, the first tour I’ve attended when she’s not been playing guitar and this seems to add a degree of freedom to her performance as she seems more expressive and animated than the previous tours I’ve caught.
 
Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17 5The title track from Holiday Destination seizes the audience and the muscular dark post punk of her set is only punctuated by her observations and interactions with the crowd, which are delivered in her broad Tyneside accent. Whilst there are some comparisons to elements of late era Siouxsie And The Banshees and Public Image Ltd one her new album, Nadine Shah is very much her own person. The haunting Yes Men, one of highlights from her new album, is preceeded by a political statement of intent, that is delivered in her own down to earth manner. The nature of the venue means that at capacity its hard to actually get a decent view of the stage, but despite this minor inconvinience I’ve never heard Nadine Shah sound better than she has tonight. She deviates away from the Holiday Destination to include material from her first two albums, which have also benefited from having her expanded backing band behind her, as her earlier material sounds more muscular than when I’ve encountered her previously, and tonight Nadine Shah seems more self assured and confident than ever and delivers a spellbinding set.
 
Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17 6Nadine Shah gives a heartfelt and venomous few words against the far right and declares herself a proud second generation immigrant, prior to delivering a Full blooded rendition of the barbed single Out The Way. She closes the night with superb three song encore that includes Runaway, the song that introduced me to Nadine Shah, and she reiterates her ambition for her new album to humanise the dehumanised and support those who need it most, and finally Mother Fighter brings a faultless set to an end. What direction she’ll head off in on her next album is anyone’s guess, but wherever she goes I’ll be following as tonight has proved that there really is no one quite like Nadine Shah, she has outgrown each venue I’ve seen her play in, and judging by tonight’s show and the crowd reaction this is something that will remain true for the foreseeable future. Nadine Shah is one of the most original and politically focused acts in the UK at the moment, and if you are going to see one act that is an exception to the punk shows that we all know and love then you really should catch Nadine Shah live.
 
Nadine Shah BOTW Oct 17 7Nadine Shah‘s website can be found here
 
The Punk Site review of Holiday Destination can be read here
 
Life‘s website is located here
 
Band On The Wall‘s website is here
 
Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here
 
You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images