Kate Nash preaches the tried and tested Girl Power message, but as Getintothis’ Joseph Viney argues, it’s her skill and delivery which transcends manufactured stereotypes.
It’s a lot easier to be cynical than complimentary.
Kate Nash‘s gig at the brand-spanking new East Village Arts Club (EVAC) seemed like the perfect opportunity to sharpen some critical knives. Because after all, a bright, breezy, young and attractive chart musician is the coal that burns a Serious Music Journalist’s furnace, isn’t it? More on that later…
First things first; what’s the new gaff like? Fresh enough so the smell of paint lingers in the air and the toilet floors are dry, EVAC is welcome addition to Liverpool’s perpetually bustling cultural landscape. It seems bigger inside than ever before, and an efficient crew of staff were on hand at every door and every bar, dealing with the punters in double quick time. There’s plenty more rooms to explore yet. Expect big things and even bigger nights.
Nash’s support band The Tuts had the honour of being the first group to officially take to the EVAC stage. Very much the definition of power-trio, The Tuts burn with an erratic energy and songs that make an almighty racket. Think of them as southern England’s answer to The 5, 6, 7, 8s (remember them?!) and you’re on the right track.
Afterwards they were more than happy to spend a good deal of time meeting and greeting; shifting merch and posing for photos with a few sweaty-browed gents and a seemingly limitless supply of starry-eyed, impressionable young girls.
‘Starry-eyed impressionable young girls.‘ Now there’s a phrase. There were plenty of them in attendance and the screams that accompanied Kate Nash‘s arrival on stage are an indication that they strongly identify with her.
…and why wouldn’t they? Since first entering the public consciousness with a more pop-led, chart-bothering sound, Nash has subsequently done an about turn; severing with her first label and electing instead to plough a furrow with a sound we could call ‘pop-grunge’. In effect, she’s doing it her own way in the manner of her choosing.
On the road to promote new LP Girl Talk (Marketing 101: never lose sight of your target demographic), Nash doesn’t hang around in opening the set with the record’s first track Part Heart.
Backed by a raucous all-female backing band who refuse to drop the pace and volume, Nash supplies a surprising and unerring amount of energy, much to the satisfaction of her baying audience.
Kate Nash in fine fettle in the spanking East Village Arts Club
Vindication for her decision to eschew the machinations of the Pop Hit Factory lies in the fact that she barely touches upon her back catalogue, pushing on with the bouncy Fri-end? and the gritty, breakneck All Talk.
There’s time for one dip into the past, with a punkier version of her breakthrough hit Foundations (which, when listened to properly, is actually a very concise detailing of young love lost). Of course, nothing’s ever perfect and the similar formula that each song follows means that two or three of them pass you by without leaving any sort of impression.
So here’s your scoop; embittered hack is won over by enthusiasm, dedication and…whisper it…fun.
Given the scope of her audience, it was only right she left with a feminist-tinged message and yes, she used the words “girl power.” Not exactly the greatest achievement of the sisterhood’s struggles, but from Nash it conveys a different meaning.
Consider this: if you were a parent of one of the girls in the crowd, who would you rather she idolises? A multi-instrumentalist who conveys the benefits of individuality and dedication, sans the need to flaunt her body for capital gain…or one of those manufactured types who want nothing more than a skeletal frame, money and morally dubious fame? No contest, right?
Photography by Getintothis’ Matt Thomas.