Nadine Shah kick started the year headlining her largest London show to date. Keith Goldhanger went along, took a couple of photo’s and reminisced about the previous six or seven years.
‘The people with the most hate seem to be shouting the loudest and it’s up to us all to gather together and make even more noise’
Nadine Shah February 2018
After writing songs that covered subjects such as mental health, regret, despair and dreary towns Nadine Shah’s tunes have took an angrier edge since we began listening to Out the Way, an introduction to what is her current third album and an album that at least one of us just hasn’t put down yet.
But there’s also a lot of pride on show in these songs.
Pride in being a second generation immigrant from a town in the north where everyone got along, cared for each other and showed empathy towards each other.
Nadine is one of the good guys, thinks the same way that we’d like to believe many of us feel however being totally aware that outside one wall such as this (For the record I did write four walls before realising the error of my ways) there exists a selection of people who live their lives with varying degrees of hatred and prejudice that they are not afraid to voice.
The anger in her own voice is very well disciplined during this show and we get not only this, but laughter, passion and sincerity which is an achievement that is especially noticeable tonight and something that surely attracts the hundreds in attendance this evening who it’s probably safe to say may not be the same people who crammed into the Shacklewell Arms half a dozen years ago when she stood alone behind the keyboards and was just as enthralling as she was tonight inside this large old railway engine shed.
Allowing Nadine to perform in this wonderfully set up Roundhouse book ends a story for one of us who first bumped into her at the Camden Stables just around the corner, where she sat and played a piano to about a dozen people, persuaded us a few days later to go down the pub and see her again and again and again, formed a band and went on to write three fantastic albums.
Which may sound as easy as she makes it look but we all know by now it isn’t.
Nadine tells us this evening that we need to keep reminding people that many of the heartbreaking stories that have hit our front pages haven’t gone away. The refugee crisis, gentrification and Islamophobia are subjects that are covered in these songs. She ended the evening with Mother Fighter a song about a Syrian woman highlighted in a documentary (A Syrian Love Story) and the reaction it caused. Some of the stuff Nadine saw across social media was enough to inspire her to pen this passionate and fabulous tune, a superb tune to end this enthralling evening with.
Prior to this she was dancing in the aisles and climbing the steps singing the aforementioned Out The Way amongst us as we remain seated, relaxed in her company and for some of us being completely knocked out by a show that has a message, displays Nadine’s’ personality in numerous ways and let’s not forget – thoroughly entertains us with a selection of music she’s written over the past few years that could sit at times somewhere between Bauhaus, Siouxsie Sioux or Polly Jean Harvey.
Nadine is Nadine though and she’s always been a bit chatty in between songs. We like this and its something that has become more passionate, funny and even more personal. It’s pointed out that her family are at the show tonight, not for the first time.
Standing, sometimes kneeling on this Roundhouse stage she’s telling us tales of watching Radiohead with her brother at Glastonbury and revealing a heckle she heard that has always worried her was maybe not the best thing to mention before we’d even reached half way through the show. These stories, anecdotes and opinions, however, are what make this feel like quite a small intimate show albeit with an audience of a few hundred.
This was a big night for Nadine, a very big night and one that she appeared to have simply brushed aside with a huge amount of confidence and ease.
The Roundhouse has been radically transformed with terraced seating, a smaller, lower stage and will remain like this for a few evenings during a series of shows titled ‘in the round’. It’s a perfect backdrop for an artist now three albums old to display the highlights from for well over an hour.
‘ ……blah blah blah ….forward to the day blah blah blah when we get to sit with her for over an hour and enjoy seeing her cram in all the songs from both albums with a couple of cover versions, loads of chat, a couple of dodgy pieces of equipment….yeah, that’d be good (sort this out someone will you, a nice comfy sitting down night at the Royal Festival Hall ……. one day ****imagine that people) ………Keith Goldhanger February 2015
Nadine Shah is one of the countries great musical commentators in 2018 and sitting comfortably watching her project her voice, dance around the Roundhouse, make us laugh, shed a tear and feel inspired was a joyous experience, an evening with a reinforced message yet equally celebratory.
I’ll meet up with you all again at album number four xx
In the meantime don’t forget that this still exists. . . .
All words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV). You may subscribe to the Goldhanger Shorts Facebook page or browse some of his photos too if you so wish.