Nadine Shah to kick off Hidden Door 2018 at Leith Theatre
Nadine Shah plays Hidden Door on Fri 25 May / credit: Anna Victoria Best
Festival's opening night, curated by The List, will also see Dream Wife, Gwenno and Honeyblood's Stina Tweeddale perform
Hidden Door's 2018 programme is here; once again it's a winner, with Leith set to welcome some of the country's most exciting, vibrant performers. The full programme is announced tomorrow (with a launch party at the Liquid Rooms), but as a special teaser we have some big names to tell you about right now. The List once again presents the opening night of the festival, which takes place at the Leith Theatre – refurbished and restored to its former glory for last year's event – on Fri 25 May.
Topping the bill is Nadine Shah, who released her fantastic third album, Holiday Destination, last August. Reminiscent of the politicised work of PJ Harvey, it's a album that's influenced by post-punk and pop, tackling the refugee crisis (the title track), dishonest political figures ('Yes Men'), and xenophobia in the UK ('Out The Way').
Gwenno's music comes with it's own important message – the preservation of cultural identity – through gorgeous synth pop. Her debut album Y Dydd Olaf won the Welsh Music Prize in 2014/15. A concept album based on a 1976 science fiction novel by Owain Owain (in which humans are oppressed and turned into clones), its tracks spoke of exerting individuality and fighting corrupt forces.
All but one of the songs on Y Ddad Olaf were sung in Welsh, a language spoken by over one million people in the UK, something not generally reflected in mainstream media. The final track, 'Amser', was performed in Cornish, and Gwenno's follow-up album Le Kov, released tomorrow, picks up from that closing point. Let the euphoric glory of 'Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki' or 'Tir Ha Mor' wash over you.
Founded in Brighton, now based in London, Dream Wife wear their influences proudly on their sleeve. Their thrillingly energetic self-titled debut album recalls riot grrrl pioneers The Slits and Bikini Kill. Much like those iconic groups the trio confidently assert their own identity and rage against misogyny.
It's an undeniably hooky collection of songs too, with a hint of Be Your Own Pet, Le Tigre and, on the opening track 'Let's Make Out', the spirit of Karen O circa Fever To Tell is in the mix too. Known for an intense live show, we can't wait to see them at Hidden Door.
Performing a solo set, and showing off her terrific vocal talents at Hidden Door is local girl turned international star Stina Tweeddale, best known as the hugely talented singer-songwriter behind Honeyblood. She'll bring tracks from the band's self-titled debut, and its hugely successful follow-up Babes Never Die.
It's a lineup of inspiring and powerful women, and we can't wait. The full Hidden Door programme is revealed on Fri 2 Mar, and to celebrate a special event is taking place at The Liquid Rooms. Pop polymaths Pronto Mama, sound artist extraordinaire Ela Orleans and electronic experimentalist The Reverse Engineer will all perform. Tickets are only £9 (£7 for concessions), and doors open at 7pm.
Tickets for the opening night at Hidden Door go on sale at 10am on Fri 2 Mar. Keep your eyes peeled for the full lineup tomorrow morning.