Nabihah Iqbal @ Headrow House, 13/4/18

There are, criminally, around 20 people in attendance for Nabihah Iqbal’s Leeds debut. The DJ and producer formally known as Throwing Shade released her first album Weighing Of The Heart at the tail end of last year, gaining positive reviews from critics and fans alike. However, this acclaim isn’t reflected in the turnout tonight, but it only makes the following three hours even more intimate and special.

Iqbal is joined on stage by bandmate Max Campbell who makes the songs, in which she recorded every instrument herself, come alive. ‘Saw U Twice’, an ode to a “really hot guy”, borrows Joy Division’s dissonant guitar lines and juxtaposed them with shoegaze-esque airy vocals, a similar theme also occurring on her song ‘Eternal Passion’.

‘Alone Together’ is something of a post-punk respite, all glistening, reverb-soaked synths before the hard-hitting ‘Zone 1 to 6000’. Almost spoken word in its delivery, it’s no surprise to hear Iqbal was influenced by William Blake’s poem ‘London’, with the song telling the story of feeling alone in a big city despite being surrounded by people, something that will no doubt resonate with much of the audience.

‘Untitled Friday’ harks back to Iqbal’s days as techno artist Throwing Shade; the most danceable, electronica-heavy track of the night it shows her diversity as an artist, as well as managing to get the audience moving.

The set closes with a cover of The Cure’s ‘A Forest’. The sparse reverberated guitar and 80’s synth fitting perfectly with Ibqal’s new wave sound, she manages to make it her own and arguably even more brooding than the original: evidence that whilst Ibqal does wear her legendary influences firmly on her sleeve she still manages to maintain her own identity. If she continues to get this formula right you can guarantee she won’t be playing to audiences this small much longer.

Shauna Stapleton

Image: Nabihah Iqbal

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