Review: Nadine Shah, Think Tank, Newcastle

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Despite only having two releases under her belt, Whitburn’s Nadine Shah has already received plenty of acclaim from the music press.

The singer and pianist released the Aching Bones EP to rave reviews at the end of last year and last week brought out its follow-up Dreary Town.

To celebrate, she held a launch party at Newcastle’s Think Tank, in a converted warehouse in the hip Hoults Yard.

Before Nadine took to the stage though, we were treated to the amazing talent of Natasha Haws.

The 18-year-old from South Shields has, like Nadine, had her music played on Radio 1 and BBC6 Music recently.

She wasn’t well at the gig, suffering from a suspected throat infection, but you wouldn’t know it from her voice.

The set, backed by her band, started off with some quieter numbers before climaxing with Stranger – her stunning Bjork-like single that brought her to national attention.

On the set closer, her voice took over the entire room, and showed that as talented as Haws is as a finger-picking singer-songwriter, there are surely more interesting waters lying ahead for her.

Next up were Symphonic Pictures, who filled the stage with a full band and brass section.

The Newcastle band are hard to pin down stylistically, but they’re certainly a lot of fun.

A heady mix of psychedelia, Dexy’s-style horns and vocal harmonies, they’re fast becoming one of my favourite bands in the North East.

Nadine’s set took things down a notch. The venue suddenly seemed darker and more gloomy – perfect for her atmospheric, piano-driver ballads.

She started with the new song (which may or may not be about her hometown) and her set list included Aching Bones, which like Haws’ Stranger, is a more industrial-sounding song compared to her others.

Her music is moody, brooding and intense and she’s a captivating performer.

This isn’t party music, but there are some occasions when you need something a bit more raw and emotional – Nadine provides that.

Paul Clifford