A performance that drew a standing applause from a much-seated audience, Nadine Shah‘s Edinburgh International Festival gig had an emotive power and authenticity to it that we have been missing so much over the last eighteen months. Performing her LP that was released during lockdown in its entirety, as Shah noted herself, added feelings of gravitas and longevity to the musician, all of which judging from tonight are entirely deserving. No, we were not celebrating 25 years of Kitchen Sink (merely one), but she was celebrating life and gigs, whilst allowing a space for us to consider grief and our own struggles over the last couple of years.
Nadine Petra Katarina Shah is an English singer, songwriter and musician. Shah was born in Whitburn, South Tyneside, to an English mother from South Shields of part Norwegian ancestry and a Pakistani father. She moved to London with the aspirations of being a jazz singer at 17 and has had an acclaimed career over the years with her post-punk.
The distinguish-voiced singer-songwriter followed up the release of last summer’s critically acclaimed fourth album, Kitchen Sink, with this much-anticipated International Festival appearance. Exploring the bleaker corners of daily life, with articulate observations on the pressures of modern womanhood, Shah has an accessible voice for many of us that speaks so astutely.
Her 2017 album, Holiday Destination, received a Mercury nomination and with Kitchen Sink, inspired by conversations with female friends, Shah has produced a more personal work that tackles politically fuelled topics such as sexism, the policing of women’s bodies and misogyny. It’s powerful yet celebratory and joyous, with tracks such as Club Cougar. And this power and outspoken nature of Shah comes across brilliantly at the Edinburgh Park venue last night with her richly deep chords and energy on the stage.
With particularly powerful performances of Trad, Club Cougar and Ukrainian Wine, the audience was indulged with the best plugging gig they could hope for post release. However, he encore was what particularly struck me with her final track being the formidably explosive Out The Way, concluding things with a typically outspoken bang. Enrichening our evenings with that lush voice oft on a par with Grace Jones , Shah has certainly shown us that there will indeed be a longevity with this artist. And combined with the EIF venue, we were sonically pampered for the evening.
Photo courtesy of Jess Shurte
For more on the Edinburgh International Festival’s programme click here