Waiting in line to photograph and review the Kate Nash show, the outspoken post-punk feminist, and brit award winner, standing in the freezing chill of the North, as the queue snaked around the venue, noting the ages of the mainly teenage girl fans, feeling somewhat perturbed that I was possibly three times the age of the devotees standing here this evening. So at this juncture you can imagine I’m wondering what to expect tonight.
First on the scene and setting the tone quite nicely is a three piece band calling themselves The Tuts, consisting of Nadia, Beverly and Harriet, brightly dressed, effervescent young women, who are supporting Kate on her tour. We are told they have a new single out called ‘Tut, Tut, Tut’, which was delivered in animated pop style, lots of jumping around, with jangling melodies. The singer spoke about experiencing sexism in the music industry, and how they had been selected personally by Kate on Facebook, after posting a video to her. The power of social networking can never be underestimated. Certainly offering support on the sidelines was Kate and her band mates, singing, dancing and jigging along, to ‘Dump My Boyfriend’ this I am sure fired them up to keep the fast pace going. They were full of confidence and attitude, despite a few technical hitches.
After a short delay, with a great stage set consisting of flickering vintage television screens, images projected onto a backdrop and multi coloured psychedelic lighting effects, Kate Nash appears wearing an ensemble which draws parallels with cartoon characters Betty Boo or Mini Mouse – a polka dot dress, topped with rabbit ears, and letters K & N emblazoned. Bringing with her three musical cohorts she names her “girl gang” who are Emma Hughes – bass/ Linda Burratto – guitar and last but not least Fern Ford – drums. She kicks off appropriately with ‘Sister’, a song dedicated to intense friendships with the same sex. She screams, and shouts, “Another girl broke my heart, being ripped away from you is like being ripped out of the womb”, in a Courtney Love grungy fashion, playing a deep throbbing bass, which she plays, swings and dances around with. It’s an incredible start, and one which sets the audience alight with cheers and much movement.
It’s plain to see this is going to be a stimulating and inspiring show; and wallop bang she comes in with a 60’s vibe ‘Death Proof’, song title taken from her favourite Tarantino movie, reminiscence of the upbeat B52’s. It’s a song about having heart surgery at the age of 17, and when she sings “‘Burn, Burn, Burn my heart baby, take a piece yeah I don’t need all of it. I don’t have time to die”, you know this is one determined and feisty young woman.
‘All Talk’ is the eighth track from her new album, it’s a non stop punky inspired number, racing, scratchy guitars and angry vocals, igniting dancing all around us. “action, action, words are only in my mouth”, it’s a song about actions speaking louder than words, and she certainly got our attention. She has no problem shouting to everyone “I’m a feminist, and if that offends you then fuck you”! She is riveting to watch and as I glance over at the girls who are adorning the front rails, their faces are transfixed with glazed love struck expressions like rabbits caught in the headlights. Whether its the music, lyrics, or Kate’s outpouring of motivating chats betweens songs we’ll never know fully, but whatever it is she has the magic formula. Kate mentions Patti Smith and how she was inspired by something which she said recently "Life is like a roller coaster, it is going to have beautiful moments, but it is going to be real fucked up, too".
‘Kiss That Grrrl’ is an older song from 2010, it’s more along the lines of mainstream pop, apparently influenced by Motown music. Then its time to slow it all down, but just a tad, stripped down music follows and Kate tells us about her ‘Part Heart’ its an intense throbbing testament to her new style and how her music has been maturing. The music slowly turning up a notch, building into a crescendo of whirling guitars and drums as Katie sings “it doesn’t matter what my good friends tell me I still feel the same”.
In between songs Kate either introduces her next song, talks about personal moments, or speaks about Pussy Riot and talks fluently about her own bandcamps, which champion and support female talent in schools. The latter quite rightly got a huge round of applause from the crowd. She makes no bones in telling us she values our friendships, and hollers “I fucking love you”! She is very appreciative of her life, and the good people who have been around her since last year, when she was dropped by her label, and since then her motto has been “put yourself first, look out for number one and fuck any bastards that try and stop you”. She doesn’t appear to be deterred by anything; she really is a fighter with a punk spirit, and does it in her own inimitable fashion.
‘Oh’ follows, which is a touching personal song wrote for both her and close friend Siobhan Malhotra, who became a great inspiration to Kate. Sadly she died, aged just 24 last year from Cystic Fibrosis. She talks about her friend, who she has since penned this next song about, entitled 'Mermaid Blue' and its a fitting tribute to her memory, “this one is for my friend”.!
Dipping into her back catalogue next with ‘Do Wah Do’ taken from the ‘My Best Friend Is You’ album - a tribute to 50’s all girl pop bands. In fact she gets so carried away that she rushes into the mosh pit, causing a flurry of excitement, continuing to sing and gets swallowed up for a while.
Kate races through a number of songs, each one different to the other, but it’s when she come to her own protest song ‘Free Pussy’ singing and clutching her guitar, that you feel the full force of her dynamic personality. It’s a song inspired by the Russian punk-rockers Pussy Riot “I dunno why you have to keep fucking with me, get me out.” “Their just girls like you and me, free my pussy, free my pussy, let it go”….meow meow!! With one arm raised in the air she brings it to a close singing “stop fuckin with me”!
‘Don’t You Want To Share The Guilt?’ is a long tale, and we are swept away on a personal path, for the next five minutes. In ‘Under-Estimate The Girl’ we have a dark seething track, with scuzzy guitars and heavy shades of a grungy punk attitude, it’s a immense number, and shows this girl has balls and never one to be underestimated for sure. I think it stands out as one of the best of the night. The partying continues as ‘Foundations’ her second single becomes a popular hit with the majority of this teen crowd, taking us back to 2007, still no signs of cracks in these foundations as the beat rages and walls vibrate.
As the theme of the night is all about grrrrls, what better than this track ‘Girl Gang’ a cover of Fidlar’s 'Cocaine' (a name displayed on her guitar) which was my ultimate favourite of the night, she really ripped into this explosive number and quite frankly shocked me (in a good way) – loved it!
Tonight finally comes to a close, and its time to slow things down considerably with ‘We Get On’, taken from the ‘Made Of Bricks’ album about relationships breaking down. It's a sombre end to a highly entertaining evening.
There is a theme which has encompassed the entire evening, a musical celebration by women, battling against sexism and giving a two finger salute to those who dared to knock you whatever you do. Kate is not only the ideal spokeswoman for this generation, but an inspiration for woman regardless of age. No matter what your medium we need to stand up and be noticed as Kate so rightly says “Take life by the horns, and live it to the max, life is too short” – sound advice for anyone I’d say! Now go and find your 'girl gang' and be inspired to make some music of your own!
We Get On