Dear Reader, this is going to be one of those reviews where I say how great someone has been before declaring ‘I don’t understand why they’re not a massive pop star’, because that is exactly, one hundred percent what I have witnessed tonight. Shura (real name Alexandra Lilah Denton), has electro-pop bangerz and dreamy synth ballads for days, yet her outstanding second album Forevher (yes, that’s how it’s spelled pedant fans) debuted at number 61 in the UK chart then fell out completely, and she’s never had anything like a top 10 single; it’s all absolutely baffling. Just as confounding is the fact that the Ritz is about two thirds full, with the balcony closed and plenty of room on the floor; yes it’s a Monday night, but I can’t believe it’s not more busy.

It’s a good job the people who are here are fully onboard with Shura and her magnificent brand of queer-pop. Everyone gathered makes it feel like a capacity gig with their love and admiration for an artist who wears her gay identify proudly on her sleeve, proclaiming her love for her partner throughout the songs of Forevher (see what she’s done there?!) and joking about how Manchester made her a lesbian (she grew up here). Wearing an incredible Stetson type hat, she opens with ‘BRKLYNLDN’, an ode to a blossoming long distance love that starts with her ‘thinking of that picture you sent me’ and ends with a gorgeous outro describing something like domestic bliss, ‘summer of love/ I think you’re awesome/ and I don’t wanna get out of bed’, it’s brilliant. Then she shows a hell of a lot of confidence by tossing off perhaps her most well known song ‘Nothing’s Real’ from her debut, warming up the crowd nicely as the pulsating electro banger rumbles through the venue, hands being thrown aloft down front. It’s followed up the best cuts from Forevher, including a slinky AF ‘religion (u can lay your hands on me)’ and perhaps my favourite track, the excellent ‘side effects’ which starts out with a gentle vocoder assisted opening before unfolding into a superb slice of pop music that you just can’t help but have an absolute bop to.

Each song is pretty much a declaration of love for her partner, and it’s an uplifting, blissful listen. On ‘the stage’, an absolute gem, she tells us ‘it’s so romantic/ and I’m so pathetic/ I can’t see the stage/ ‘cause I’m looking at you’ and I’m swooning right there with her. She’s an energetic, magnetic performer, switching from thrashing at her drum pad to wading into the front row to shredding her guitar with her backing musician, it’s impossible to take you eyes off her and her perfectly unkempt shock of bleach blond hair, frequently wonderful illuminated by the stage lights throughout the night. That shredding reaches a peak on the full club banger ‘White Light’ that closes the main set, a full on stomp that turns a dreary Monday night into a barnstorming club night down your favourite local dance establishment.

The inevitable encore sees Shura sing the beautiful ‘tommy’ almost solo, a tender moment that captivates the audience, the ol’ ‘can hear a pin drop’ cliché almost true. She finishes on the slow burn epic ‘skyline, be mine’, which is basically Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ and is certainly no worse off for that fact. Tonight Denton has showed us, a gathering of fully onboard fans, what the rest of the world is missing; namely a brilliant performer with an enviable arsenal of queer-synth-pop masterpieces. There’s one thing I just don’t understand though: why is Shura not a massive pop star?

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