Live Review: Kate Nash (Nottingham Bodega)
|Photo: Darren Reynolds|
It’s apt that Kate Nash should visit Nottingham at the same time as the Night of Festivals in the city is celebrating artistic and creative freedom; few people have striven for the elusive independence more than Nash. Ever since finishing up the promotion for her debut record, she’s been insistent on moving forward, trying new things and growing as an artist. Now, adding a new depth to your sound, putting on a darker edge or even getting a little rockier is all well and good, but Kate certainly didn’t do things by halves – from the ashes of quirky piano pop debut ‘Made Of Bricks’, grew the feisty, almost unrecognisable vixen that fronted it’s follow up ‘My Best Friend Is You’, an entirely different sound to the one she made her name with.
The ‘Faster Pussycats, Run Run’ tour comes at a time that this is highlighted more than ever. With the release of the track from her new era, ‘Under-Estimate The Girl’, reception has been both uplifting (NME) and appalling (Twitter). So has Kate Nash gone insane and thrown away her last chance of continuing her early success? Only the new material will show us and that’s tossed out in buckets tonight.
Opening with the edgy ‘All Talk’, she beckons the audience in to the set which comprises of only four familiar tracks – ‘Foundations’, ‘Do-Wah-Doo’, ‘Take Me To A Higher Plane’ and ‘Kiss That Grrrl’. Even these performances are given a new twist though, with her breakthrough hit shifting from piano-led to guitar-centric. ‘Do-Wah-Doo’ suffers no losses, though, with an invigorating performance full of life that sits amongst the new material pretty snugly in the live set, as does second-album highlight ‘Higher Plane’ which seemed to act, in hindsight, as a pre-warning of the direction Nash was heading in.
On the new material front, there is plenty to get excited about. Potential singles ‘Conventional Girl’ and ‘Oh’, complete with instantly catchy sing-a-long moments stand out, as does the acapella encore performance of ‘Lullaby For The Insomniac’ which, even with instruments silenced, proves Nash’s knack for a great hook, memorable and relatable lyrics and the one skill that has remained constant throughout her career – her voice.
|Photo: Jamie Matthew Morton|
Nash is often hailed for her songwriting ability, particularly her skill of getting a tune into your head and, despite only hearing them once, the new songs are continuing in that vein. A suitably chirpy cover of ‘My Chinchilla’ by Cub followed a brief period of bringing the tempo down a little for the climatic ‘Part Heart’ and ‘Are You There, Sweetheart’? The acoustic track ‘You’re so Cool, I’m So Freaky’, complete with free lyric sheet for crowd interaction purposes, also goes down a treat with the chorus ringing throughout the Bodega.
It’d be wrong to treat this as a normal gig, when it was essentially an album preview performance, ahead of the tbc third opus. The crowd chanted, in vain, for ‘We Get On’, ‘I Hate Seagulls’ and debut single ‘Caroline’s A Victim’, and the lack of acknowledgement to the hits that have brought her this far is slightly disheartening. But, looking at what we’re given, the new material was easily able to get excitement pulsating through the eager crowd and the aforementioned album tracks were perfectly placed for the times when a sing-a-long was needed. Critics, beware, ‘Under-Estimate The Girl’ more than proves it’s worth on the live circuit and if you thought her switch to punk was divisive, wait until you hear her ‘Rap For Rejection’…
Photos: Jamie Matthew Morton & Darren Reynolds
Words: Simon McMurdo