Every so often, a new artist comes along and it feels like a shot of pure endorphins coarsing through every fibre of your being. Last night, said new artist; Shura, did exactly this to myself and the rest of the capacity crowd in an underground room in the depths of East London.
Taking to the stage with her band, shrouded in darkness, the first two tracks ‘Figure Stuff Out’ and ‘Kids N Stuff’ might never have been heard before, but both hold the entire room in ecstatic awe. For those like myself who have waited in excess of four months for this gig, these first tender moments of tonight’s set tug on those parts of your heart associated with uplifting happiness. There are a lot of artists these days whose live sets comprise of shadowed figures stood behind keyboards, but the humble nature and clear and genuine gratitude on the faces of Shura and her band of boys, go above and beyond the spectacle that such bands have captured thus far.
‘Indecision’ follows and is met with the love and adoration both song and artist rightfully deserve. Before the gig, the atmosphere was somewhat hushed in anticipation, but the second the intro is dropped, there is a noticeable shift and as I take a quick gaze around the crowd, everyone in my instant eye-line is grinning ear to ear. Where sometimes at gigs crowds can be cold and stern towards lesser known performers, it is safe to say that we all want to give Shura a more than well deserved hug (something we all did post-show like a queue of One Direction fans… too soon?)
Between songs chatter is kept to a shy minimum as the perhaps aptly named ‘2Shy’ is queued up; introduced as the next single. The lack of conversation is probably only because we as a crowd tended to get a little too enthusiastic in our chorusing chants of supports as yells of ‘COME ON SHU!!!’ and ‘WE LOVE YOU SHU’ echo around the underground arches. ‘2Shy’ had high expectations placed upon it prior to tonight’s show. Expectations that it far surpasses, if you think of that swell of happiness you felt in your chest the exact moment you have felt the happiest in your life so far – that’s Shura’s set tonight, all of the way through without faltering of any kind.
A cheeky cover and mash up of ‘She Drives Me Crazy/Teenage Dirtbag’ are given new life in Shura’s sparse arrangements, transforming them into what feels like really deep emotional territory. This is before you realise that this deep moment feels great but odd when you consider the lyrics of both songs, but such is the magical powers of Shura, it feels like hearing sound for the first time ever.
‘Just Once’, ‘Touch’ and ‘White Light’ bring the short eight song set to a close, but all three are met with yet more rapturous crowd appreciation. ‘Touch’ marks a personal highlight from the set, as it was the first offering ever from Shura and so to be hearing it live for the first time after what feels like years of repetitive listening is incredibly cathartic and moving. “I wanna touch you but I’m too late, I wanna touch you but there’s too much history”, it’s moving stuff and the vocal delivery of every line from tonight’s set list carries that emotion so fittingly. Shura’s talent lies in making songs that, although related to pain and loss, act as the sweetest release from that pain. A healthy medium to exorcize the sadness from your head, and dance to some catchy beats at the same time.
In short, I have seen some magical early gigs from artists in my time so far, but last night’s Shura gig was one of very very few that will stay with me forever, and I cannot recommend making sure you check Shura out at festivals over the summer and beyond.
Here’s a photo of me and Shura looking very happy at the merch stand post-show as an extra added treat for you all.