First time I witnessed Kate Nash live was at a huge European music festival. Although there were ten other stages I could have seen, I could not leave her show on the main stage. The way she connected with the audience was amazing, and personal without being shallow, or disingenuous in any way. Last time I saw her was at the Commodore. She blew everyone away with her explosive presence, but also charmed them with heartfelt, lyrical, story driven piano ballads.
To my surprise, this time she came to the Electric Owl, which is an intimately sized, clean, versatile venue known to pack the house hosting some of the most notable local and touring acts regardless of genre, live band or DJ setups.
Just like the smaller venues, Kate has deliberately been putting out albums that are less appealing to the mainstream masses ever since her breakthrough pop record, “Made of Bricks”, which deservedly garnered a ton of commercial attention, but perhaps too much too soon. Her sophomore album, “My Best Friend is You” took a rougher tone in terms of dialing in a more rock, surf, and slightly punk edge with less pristine sheen that was on her debut, resulting in a great blend of pop rock. After listening to her latest album, Girl Talk, it was clear she had gone further in this direction with an edgier, noisier rockabilly tone. Despite the changes, I was intrigued and eager to see her again!
Indie pop rock band from Portland Oregon, Dresses opened the show. They did an unplugged acoustic guitar, ukulele and dual vocal set. The guitarist played and sang effortlessly while the shy girl sang gently with a soft, polite voice and posture. Their dedicated fans front row sang along sweetly like a lullaby choir. Since the rest of the band couldn’t make it, their set was quiet and subdued, putting the audience in a peaceful, dreamlike state.
Kate Nash started off with a vintage style video of her in what looked like the streets of LA. The projections were on the band as well as multiple vintage, wooden TV’s on stage. To promote her new album, Girl Talk, her band consisted of an all girl group. As expected this show was a lot more reckless and abrasive than before. From the song choices to the way she was dressed, it was apparent she wanted nothing to do with her past at this time. However, the most important thing was that she was still the personable, professional, and most importantly, enjoying herself. By the last song, she had lots of fans jumping up on stage, rocking out. Kate talked a lot about girl power, her teaching music to students in schools among other female empowering topics.
The fact that this show was the opposite of what was most appealing about her in the beginning of her career was a little bittersweet. However, she’s still the same person making quality music, just showing it in a different way.
– Review by Bag