Words by Ciera Littleford
It’s Sunday evening in Cardiff, and the normally bustling Albany Road is quiet to mark the end of the weekend. The Globe doesn’t know what’s about to hit it.
Nadine Shah and her band are scorching a trail across the country, with the help of Hull punk group, Life. In such an uncertain political and social climate, for most of us Shah’s third album Holiday Destination is a welcome snap back to reality.
Life may seem like an odd support choice musically, but they’re just as passionate about their message, and their energy onstage is unrivalled. Vocalist Mez Green struts and gestures like a young Jarvis Cocker, belting out an impassioned Trainspotting-esque commentary on culture on ‘In Your Hands’.
The atmosphere is electric with anticipation by the time Shah and her band come onstage, launching straight into ‘Place Like This’. Sure enough, everyone’s dancing by the time that staggeringly fun riff fills the room. Nadine meanders around the stage with assurance, and doesn’t stop until the set is over. The anger and passion that weaves through the album is translated perfectly on stage as she demands through a grimace, ‘how you gonna sleep tonight?’.
It’s not all angst, though, because as well as being immensely talented and resolutely sincere, Nadine Shah is also remarkably funny. Following Theresa May’s comment that she doesn’t want a cabinet full of ‘yes men’, which is a song on Holiday Destination, Shah mentions that May must have listened to the album, but ‘probably streamed it, the bastard!’. Some older favourites feature among the setlist too, such as the gorgeous slow-burner ‘Stealing Cars’, which she jokes is her ‘hit’.
It’s Sunday evening in Cardiff, but no one leaves the gig looking ready for bed. There’s an enlightened, somewhat motivated chatter bouncing around The Globe, which is exactly why we still need these brilliant, powerful albums, and the riveting gigs that go with them.