Nadine Shah has great on-stage patter; it helps, mind you, that she plays in Glasgow, a city where audiences are receptive to that sort of thing.
To begin, the band rumble through two deep, thundercloud tracks; slow bass drum, wild west guitar and Shah’s voice; that incredible, Arabic infused, brooding voice – tonight is all set up to forewarn a storm.
Then she starts talking, and the clouds disappear.
You’d never believe the bubbly Geordie accent that lies behind the husky tones of ‘Love Your Dum and Mad’ and the new album Fast Food.
Genuine, funny crowd interaction is all the rage at Tut’s on Monday night; this by no means takes away from the power of the music, however, and the way she suddenly drops the chitchat and became absorbed in her work pulls the tightly packed room close to the stage.
So close, in fact, that after a particularly melancholy number, a fan, Raymond I think his name was, couldn’t help himself and chokes “that’s just beautiful!” for everyone to hear, including Shah, who laughs it off with collected ease.
That is just what it felt like to be part of that crowd, absorbed by the music, connected to the artists on stage and wanting to hear more.
Nadine Shah hit No.9 in the recently released UK Vinyl Charts this week with her fresh new album Fast Food. you may have guessed from the singles ‘Fool’ and ‘Stealing Cars’ that it was going to be a success.
Tonight, the pieces she plays from this album stand out as the strongest, though admittedly they made up the majority of the set.
They bring pace when required and hush everything down just when we think it is all going to be about the rhythm.
After a truly moving encore – one of those rare moments you sometimes witness in live music that defines the mood of the night somehow, brought about by the intent of the crowd to listen being at a maximum and the power of the performance – Shah leaves the stage with regal grace.
We are all left a little bit dazed, and I certainly feel a tiny pang of regret that she isn’t my friend and that we wouldn’t be hanging out any time soon, having a laugh about the gig or talking about old times.
She just has that effect on people.
Words: Patrick McCafferty
Photos: Tim Gray