27th June | Louisiana

Festival season, the road to Glastonbury and beyond…

It’s that hallowed time of year where musicians and their fans from across the globe gather in sonic pilgrimage. This obviously comes with its own set of pros and cons, some greater than others, and the less said about portaloos the better. But when acts are elsewhere and your local venue listings are sparser, warm-up shows are a definite positive to it all. Not to mention there’s just something quite special about seeing their proposed sets before everyone else, being in that private test audience. With this in mind, you can imagine how Shura’s sold-out show at The Lousiana was met on this Thursday evening.

Performing with band, but sans support, Shura’s 9pm set ran us through the highlights of her debut Nothing’s Real, sprinkled in the new singles and just a taste of what waits on August’s imminent Forevher to keep us hooked. It’s festival season fodder, but entirely suited to her loyal crowd, fans new and old, in the packed upstairs room. To quote the woman herself, “I can’t believe that it’s been three years,” but I’m pretty sure this is what we were waiting for.

Speaking of the new material, ‘BKLYNLDN’ and ‘religion (u can lay your hands on me)’ sound just as delightful live as the moment you first hit play when scrolling through the latest releases. The tone of Forevher is different from that of Nothing’s Real, but not completely distanced. Shura has grown as a songwriter, bringing in jazzy slow grooves and a new aesthetic (becoming the self-proclaimed “lesbian pope”), which exudes some shimmering confidence and compliments what we already know. But at this moment in time, her music is a brilliant blue sky – ethereal, content, and composed. Her audience, myself included, hang on every word like carefully positioned clouds, delicately drifting in time to the music and hoping to be held afloat.

This reverie was only broken into during the set’s closer, the miraculous ‘White Light’, which saw a powerful aural shift as she battled aggressively with samples and guitar loops during its final minutes. Perhaps in future, maybe in a larger venue, I’d personally love to see a return to this furious energy. It was a truly unforgettable way to bring the show to an end.

See the video for ‘religion (u can lay your hands on me)’ here: