After interviewing Zuzu back in September and reviewing her album in November, Gemma Cockrell headed to The Bodega to see how Zuzu fares in a live setting. Here are her thoughts.
Zuzu admitted early on in the show that her voice was a bit croaky from performing back-to-back for so many days in a row, as she sipped some hot tea from a mug. This caused her to leave a few songs off the setlist, and Beauty Queen, Bevy Head and Endlessly Yours were cut. However, her set still lasted roughly 50 minutes, finishing just ten minutes before The Bodega’s 10pm curfew.
Zuzu is undeniably one of the most emotive performers I have ever seen. Her facial expressions and body language, coupled with her voice (which still sounded excellent despite her struggles) led the audience to be able to physically see the emotions that went into each song during the writing process. This particularly showed on the tracks from her recent debut album Queensway Tunnel.
''Pouring with emotion just as they are in their studio versions''
It was even apparent on tracks like Never Again, where she admitted that she no longer related to the lyrics but it seemed that while performing the song she was able to regenerate these past emotions as if they were still raw and recent.
Going into the show, her debut album was the material that I was most familiar with from Zuzu’s discography. Tracks like Lie to Myself, My Old Life and setlist closer Queensway Tunnel, which all happen to be personal favourites of mine from the album, were pouring with emotion just as they are in their studio versions.
The highlight for me, however, had to be The Van is Evil, which was packed with energy and enthusiasm. Admittedly, another reason that this song was my favourite was because of the rare moment of interaction I experienced with Zuzu. I was front row, and during the song she held her microphone to me. I may have got a bit of stage fright, and let out a bit of a feeble cheer instead of singing, but it was a special and intimate moment that doesn’t happen all too often at gigs.
A track that caught me off guard was All Good, which I wasn’t too familiar with before the show. It had unfortunately slipped under my radar, having been released in 2018, and I didn’t know all of the lyrics. However, I was extremely impressed with the performance of this track, particularly the instrumentation, and it is definitely a song that I will be appreciating more after hearing it live.
''It brought a fitting festive touch to the show''
Another track from 2018 which was a nice touch was Zuzu’s Christmas song, Distant Christmas. Since the show was on 9th December, in the midst of the lead up to Christmas, it brought a fitting festive touch to the show. This holiday cheer only continued after the gig, with everyone being able to see the Nottingham Christmas markets from the top of Pelham Street as they left the venue.
When I spoke to Zuzu at the end of the show, she said “See you again soon”, and I have a feeling that when I do next see her it will be in a much bigger venue. It seems inevitable that Zuzu’s popularity is only going to skyrocket from here onwards, but it felt right for her to be performing such emotional and intimate songs in the cosiness of The Bodega, and I am grateful to have been able to appreciate them in this form.
Edited by: Amrit Virdi
Featured image and in-article images and videos courtesy of Gemma Cockrell. No changes made to these images. Permission to use granted to The Mic.