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Live: Nadine Shah - The Leadmill, Sheffield


On Saturday, Far Out went to watch Nadine Shah bring her new album Holiday Destination to The Leadmill in Sheffield and she was on impressive form.

Shah’s third record Holiday Destination was released in August and sees the Geordie give her take on the current absurd political landscape where refugees are treated as sub-humans and we have a reality TV star in The White House.

Politics was a constant theme which ran throughout the gig with support band LIFE being equally as loud at voicing their political views, even if their music completely differs from Nadine Shah’s, their message is the same.

The Leadmill is a mecca for indie music and is a pleasure to enjoy live music there, you take in the history of the building as soon as you enter with the mountains of names of acts who’ve performed there over the years covering the walls.

The Tyneside musician was accompanied by an incredibly talented tight five-piece band which included her producer and collaborator Ben Hillier on drums who has also worked with the likes of Blur, The Maccabees and Depeche Mode.

Arriving on stage at around half past nine they dived straight into Holiday Destination opener ‘Place Like This’ which got the crowd enjoying themselves on a Saturday night.

Title track ‘Holiday Destination’ was a poignant moment, with it’s striking lyrics that tackle the refugee crisis which captivated the Leadmill crowd, where Shah sings “Fatalities in the water, traffic jam by your side, feed your son, feed your daughter, how you gonna sleep tonight?”

Shah’s vocals are frighteningly deep, they mix with the gloomy sounds of the band and the dark lyrics like gin mixes with tonic, a perfect blend.

The Newcastle musician has a great back and forth with the audience throughout the evening, chatting away with crowd members like she would in her front room and is entertaining throughout the gig.

She certainly looked like she was having fun as well, so much so that she even spilt her drink over her set-list halfway through the set and laughed the mishap off in brilliant fashion.

The singer brought it upon herself to make a statement about mental health which largely influenced her first two records before playing ‘Evil’ which is written about her struggle with mental health.

She also spoke bravely about an episode she suffered the night before after performing at the Brudenell in Leeds.

The Geordie’s parents are both immigrants with her Father originating from Pakistan and her Mother being Norwegian. She is a walking example of why immigration should be celebrated rather than criticised and as Nadine jokingly put it: “We’d be a lot worse looking if it wasn’t for immigration.”

She ended her set with the epic ‘Out the Way’ that is about her life as a second-generation immigrant and features a thrilling saxophone solo from her bandmate Pete Wareham.

The band then along with Shah then returned to treat fans to a three-song encore to end the night in style, which included the mighty ‘Mother Fighter’.

Holiday Destination is a refreshing listen as it tackles issues such as the refugee crisis in a way you don’t read about in the media or on the news and Shah’s live show takes the record to the next level. The evening was powerful, hilarious and thrilling in equal measures.

Shah said it herself plenty of times throughout the gig that she was ‘preaching to the converted’ with her political views and she’s probably right, but it’s nice to hear someone create music about the more important things in the world, that many choose to shy away from in a bid to please the masses or for an easy ride.

Nadine Shah has two dates left on her tour and is set to play London’s Islington Assembly on Thursday and Brighton Concorde on Saturday, to get tickets click here.