Live Review – Eliza Shaddad @ The Cuban Embassy

Eliza Shaddad

The Cuban Embassy

Review by Mark Wakeman

Eliza Shaddad

With the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak it was apparent that a fair few people had stayed away as the amount of people present was only just over half of what I’d heard was the number of tickets sold.

Opening act Charlotte Carpenter has been a regular on the Midlands music scene for a fair few years now either headlining or as a featured support artist. With Charlotte you know that you will always get a quality set and she didn’t disappoint tonight.

She opened with 2014’s ‘Whole’ which has shades of Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game in it’s distinctive guitar sound. Charlotte has been making a concerted effort to write new music recently and the anthemic ‘Harder To Tell’ and an as yet untitled new song sound very promising. The riff heavy ‘Electric’ again showcased Charlotte’s guitar playing and sound.

Charlotte then went totally unplugged by switching to acoustic guitar and moving away from the mic to play ‘Follow You Down’ which she wrote about her grandparents last summer and then ‘Bigger Than You’ which she wrote about her parents and understanding that they can make mistakes too. Both these songs were utterly gorgeous and it showed Charlotte’s confidence as a musician that she would perform these in their purist form. She plugged back in again for set closer ‘Fire’ which with it’s sultry vocals has always been one of her best songs.

Apart from being a musician and a Batista Charlotte also runs her own record label Babywoman Records and she’ll be running an all day gig celebrating her record label in the autumn.

Eliza Shaddad from London has a diverse heritage raised across seven countries by Scottish and Sudanese parents. She has brains as well as talent having a degree in philosophy and having studied Jazz at London Guildhall. Her jazz grounding was clearly to the fore as she lead a rock solid trio consisting of herself on vocals and lead supported by Nathan on bass and Glynn on drums and backing vocals.

Eliza’s bluesy voice and excellent guitar work were rightly to the fore but Nathan and Glynn provided a perfect backbone as a rock solid but just slightly understated rhythm section allowing Eliza to shine and showcase her outstanding talent.

Eliza has supported a lot of acclaimed artists all over the world as well as playing her own shows and this extensive gigging clearly showed as they worked their way effortlessly through an excellent hour long set.

Over half the tracks from her 2018 debut LP ‘Future’ were given an airing spread generously across her set list. Eliza kept the gig moving briskly along with minimal talking between the songs and no elaborate tunning. Eliza was a bit worried her voice wouldn’t hold up which she wasn’t sure if it was because she was a bit under the weather or because she had smoked too much.

Songs from her couple of acclaimed EP’s and a great cover of All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’ which she had recorded for International Woman’s Day completed a typically acclaimed and accomplished set by one of the best young performers in the country.