Òran Mór, 17/11/19
No venue in Glasgow could be more fitting than the Òran Mór for the reverence of Shura’s. performance, given the spirituality and emotional exploration of her latest music. Her most recent album forevher marks a maturity in tone amidst the upbeat pop vibes of her earlier songs. Shura manages to make the space feel intimate and connected without feeling confined, allowing the audience to move with ease to the music. The seamless shift between crowd pleasers like ‘Touch’ into softer new releases such as ‘religion (u can lay your hands on me)’ felt especially poignant given the church above, and the message of acceptance was echoed in the supportive cheers of the crowd.
The supporting acts seemed carefully chosen, as each contrasted with the other to help create a fitting sense of anticipation. The pared back simplicity of Ruthie and the electronic soul vibes of Rosie Lowe are reflective of the duality inherent in Shura’s discography, making these two acts the perfect choice for openers.
Ruthie manages to capture the early audience, with her charming sincerity providing exactly the right mix of bittersweet earnestness. The poignancy of her lyrics are highlighted by the absence of her usual backing band, and Ruthie manages to get the audience invested in her performance with an endearingly charming mix of jokes and soul.
Following on from this, Rosie Lowe keeps the crowd on a high, warming the room up with an eclectic blend of synth sounds mixed live. In particular, ‘Pharoah’ goes down a treat and the room responds with an infectious eagerness when Lowe announces she was playing an untitled song she’d only written the week before the performance. Lowe’s set was unexpectedly gripping and she has definitely staked her claim as one to watch.
Shura’s set opens with ‘BKLYNLDN’, and her energy wells to fill the heart of the venue. The set thrums with a beat that captures the crowd and everyone feels connected to the experience. Shura knows how to use the most of the space, and is at ease dancing about the stage. Songs like ‘Nothing’s Real’ are the perfect upbeat bop to get the crowd grooving and singing along, managing to inject a bit of energy into the frosty Sunday night.
Whilst the set does feel frontloaded, the latter half manages to hold the audience’s attention with longer intricate guitar solos and softer vibes. We all knew Shura could sing, but this gig also proves she can hold her own on a guitar, and the fun she was clearly having was definitely reflected in the audience. The decision to spin tracks like ‘2Shy’ into a softer ballad reminds us of the value and unique experience seeing artists live presents. Shura is a fun performer to see live and her energy is infectious, whether from little details like the longer guitar solos on tracks like ‘Indecision’ or her dedication of a song to anyone out on a date. There’s nothing more uplifting than being in an audience that feels diverse and accepting, and Shura’s gig reminds us of the holistic connection an audience can feel when joined together by music.
[Catherine Bouchard, she/her]
[Photo credit: Òran Mór]