Friday 2nd February.
I have been suffering with a trapped nerve/impingement in my neck, causing pain and numbness through my right shoulder, arm and fingers for a few weeks. I was a little bit nervous of making the trip up to London for this gig. All those extra people jostling about and the bumpiness of the train! The gig tickets, the hotel and the train tickets were all pre booked and paid for so there was no real choice but to go and hope for the best.
Despite having lived in London for the majority of my life I had never been to the Roundhouse before. Nadine Shah is an artist Tom and I both really like, so when he offered to get us tickets I could hardly say no. She has one of those unique and memorable voices, it would have been churlish to not hear her live.
We were late and missed the support act, which is a shame as the guy sat next to us described them as “jazz. weird jazz” which sounds like the sort of thing I would have really liked!
Tom had somehow managed to book us front row seats, so we had a superb view of the stage. I must find out more about the Roundhouse’s history, and go there again. The staff, including security (which was quite full on) were friendly (in London!) and the space itself was smashing. It was quite theatrical feeling, black drapes and in the round, with full tiered seating. You could be sat anywhere and have a great view I’d have thought.
Nadine opened with 3 songs from her latest album, Holiday Destination and her voice is even more powerful live. Backed by a group of excellent musicians, the sound was superb. The passion in her performance so evident and the emotion was written all over her face. She is a proper performer, giving her all whilst retaining total control of both her voice and the stage. This was a masterclass in politically powerful pop. There really isn’t enough of that about anymore and the reminders to continue to care in the face of a hostile world coming from the stage were heartfelt. As Nadine acknowledged, she was performing in an echo chamber, but the call to amplify the voices of love against those of hate is always needed.
The final song, Mother Fighter, an impassioned and brilliant song, which was delivered with commitment and real soul, was the standout song of the night for me. I was reminded of a conversation I’d been having with my 11 year old son about Trump and the politics of hate, that the only way we win is with love. Is to shine light into the darkness and keep it shining, however bleak things seem.
Nadine Shah is an artist full of humanity and warmth, her talent and music one of those lights. Keep it shining.