Live Review: Shura, Rescue Rooms (08/12/15)

The best things come to those who arrive early to gigs. Unfortunately, I was not, and never will be, one of those people. But the first 90 folks who trundled into Rescue Rooms to watch Shura were lucky enough to receive a shiny free vinyl. This personal disappointment was not to last for long.

The crowd settled around the small stage, gawping at the backdrop. A huge drawing of Shura’s head dismantling itself into a robot. Not long after, she arrived on stage with her three-man band and said – “Hi”. We’d already realised that we weren’t gonna see much of her face through the show – her long blonde fringe fell in front of her features like a deliberately obscuring waterfall. It was only swept back every two or so songs.

“‘Kids n Stuff’ employs the keys, bass, and electronic drums to create a blend as intricate as it is dazzling.”

Immediately she burst into ‘Nothing’s Real’ – one of her latest tracks, frothing with intense synth solos and sky-scraping vocals. Her intriguing sound came full force in the second song ‘Just Once’, as the Moscow-born, London-bred girl was enveloped by 80s rhythms tinged with contemporary sleekness. This was her own sound.

Her repertoire is small but already convincing. ‘Kids n Stuff’ employs the keys, bass, and electronic drums to create a blend as intricate as it is dazzling. The crowd swayed and bobbed their heads and shoulders. Being awarded a place on the BBC Sound of 2015 longlist was absolutely deserved.

The clappy intro to ‘Indecision’ snapped everyone wide awake: the whole set was taken a key higher and the mood was uplifted into a celebration of the woman that stood before us. Shura was a woman of few words – mostly apologising for not writing songs quickly, reminding us that this was the first time she’d played in Nottingham. She let her performance do the talking.

During ‘2Shy’, as in other songs, she simultaneously plays the keyboard, her drum pad, and occasionally jumps on the guitar as well, all with an inimitable zest and a devotion to the moody music that she has created. Cheers greeted the news that the crowd were to be treated to a new song – ‘What Happened’. Shura has only just got off the starting blocks, so whilst it’s too early to expect much experimentation with her sound, she nevertheless sang with heart and soul.

“Everybody present in Rescue Rooms surely hopes to be able to say, someday, “I saw Shura on her first UK tour”.”

‘Touch’ was the victory of the night. Although the song that she is best known for, she’s far from being a one trick pony. Finishing with ‘White Noise’, it’s clear that this is an artist in possession of a real talent – everybody present in Rescue Rooms surely hopes to be able to say, someday, “I saw Shura on her first UK tour”.

Rachel Lewis

Image via Chuff Media

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