Nieve Ella and Hannah Grae both show they’re set for big things at Reading 2023

Two acts, both with the potential to make a big impression.

Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Frances Beach.

After a big, carefree dance party to Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’, Nieve Ella kicks into her own giddy, ambitious anthems designed to keep that joy going. ‘I’ve Fallen For You’ is a wide-eyed surrender to love, ‘19’ is a rumbling number, fueled by angst, confusion and heartbreak but finds catharsis in the soaring breakdown. Elsewhere, ‘Your Room’ has only been out a few weeks, but the swelling crowd seems to know every room to the swaying anthem of moving on before an unapologetically sweet ‘You House’ and the fierce, snotty drive of ‘His Sofa’.

That energy carries through to Hannah Grae’s slot on the BBC Introducing stage. An hour earlier, she was watching old tour buddy James Marriot play Reading’s Main Stage and her own slot clearly has similar ambitions. ‘Time Of Your Life’ and ‘Never Say No’ are furious but twist that rage into something far more joyful, while the title track to debut EP ‘Hell Is A Teenage Girl’ is delivered with an extra layer of snark, thanks to the gig being watched by people who knew her from school. The smirking slacker rock of ‘Screw Loose’ is more intimate than her other sprawling revenge anthems, but as it turns self-doubt into an outstretched hand, it creates a moment of magic amongst the packed audience.