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Not far from home, the up-and-coming Scouser welcomes a loving crowd.
Published: 06/01/2022
  Author + Photos: Ianthe Warlow

A rainy December Monday evening saw a packed Deaf Institute welcome Liverpool’s mighty Zuzu. As an artist who’s no stranger to selling out gigs at her home end of the Mersey, and hot on the heels of her exquisite debut album ‘Queensway Tunnel’, the crowd knew they were in for a hell of a show.

‘Timing’ opens the set in all its confessional glory. Also the album opener, we’re thrust into Zuzu’s world of bold, vulnerable pop-rock. The setlist is well paced with new anthems and old favourites; heartstring pullers and euphoric pop - for all of which the crowd remain enthralled. They sing along loudly to ‘Skin and Bone’ and dance excitedly to ‘Get Off’, which is a testament to Zuzu’s creation of a space in which fans are able to uninhibitedly celebrate her music.

‘Toaster’ oozes sublime, spacey guitar and bittersweet sentiments with the classic characterful wit we expect from Zuzu’s lyricism, then feistier tracks like ‘Bevy Head’ and ‘The Van is Evil’ are thematically darker and cause a definite stir. The latter provided the opportune moment to encourage the eager crowd to crouch to the floor, then leap up before a rapturous end.

“I’m sweatin’ like a lizard!” she exclaims, which got a laugh from both those who got the reference and those who didn’t. The thing about Zuzu is, nobody can stop watching her playful stage presence - everyone in the room is delighted to be there, and she’s almost surprised to hear her songs sung back to her. Humble but confident and fiercely talented, she and her band are constantly on the same wavelength as they blaze from track to track.

Given the date, it was only right that they’d play ‘Distant Christmas’ as things began to wind down. We’re then treated to ‘All Good’ - a clear fan favourite - and the gig aptly closes with the dazzling title track of the album, ‘Queensway Tunnel’: gentle and heart wrenching but still sanguine.

All in all: songs adorned with her Scouse accent, compelling guitar hooks and a real knack for storytelling made this a special night for all involved.