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WPGM Reviews: ZELA Live At The Shacklewell Arms (In Pictures)

Zela perform at the Shacklewell Arms

Brother-sister duo ZELA turned a cold and damp night in East London electric with their headline show at The Shacklewell Arms. Max Griff on drums and Liv Griff on vocals put on a supercharged and ferociously engaging set. The show on February 28th marked the band’s first London show in 2024, and with good luck, there will be many more over the coming months.

The set starts with the disco-tinged beats of “Sleep Real Bad” before heading into a fiery rendition of “I Want Attention.” Both songs are delivered with an angsty zeal that draws you in and locks your attention. Liv is bombastic as she owns every millimetre of the stage when performing, dancing, and kicking her way through the ten-song set.

As the set goes on, the crowd becomes more delirious with glee as almost everyone is dancing along. By the show’s end, bodies are sprawled on the floor in a glorious sense of pandemonium that reflects the music ZELA is performing. The band’s live performance is nothing short of a high-octane spectacle that sucks you in completely.

However, while the performance is big and the sounds even bigger, this does not capture the magic of ZELA, which is how intricate production and captivating hooks often tell stories that hit home emotionally. The aforementioned “I Want Attention” is a blistering record which speaks to daily misogyny experienced by women everywhere.

Meanwhile, “I Really Like Her” is a sweet ode to unrequited love with a catchy refrain. During the set, the band share a new single, “Lova Ya” (released on the coming Friday), which again challenges listeners to confront a complex relationship. ZELA is a band that rewards you the more time you spend with the music.

Since their formation in 2020, ZELA has produced an eclectic collection of electric “Brat-Pop” that rewards listeners the longer they spend with it. With explosive and energetic live performances and richly layered and complex music, ZELA is a band to watch; whatever they choose to do next should be worth watching.

Words and photography by Robert Alleyne

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