kate nash – live review: banquet records, kingston 21/5/19

Seen and heard by Tony Rounce

Twelve years ago Kate Nash almost topped the UK charts with ‘Foundations’, and served notice that she was a songwriter of maturity and perception.  It didn’t really work out for her as a top-of-the-popette, but Kate’s audio rebirth in 2013 with “Girl Talk” put her on an independent road she is still travelling. The inspiration Kate has provided for many of those whose work this group embraces confirms that she is at home here among all Loud Women.

Kate releases far too few records, so each release is an event. And this May in-store suburban showcase tied in with the first ever vinyl issue for Kate’s 2010 “My Best Friend Is You” album.  Accompanied only by the estimable Linda Buratto from her regular touring band, Kate did indeed start off with ‘Paris’ from said album, as well as singing four more songs from it (including great versions of  ‘Kiss That Grrrl’ and ‘Don’t You Want To Share The Guilt’).

A vibrant hour-long, 10-song set covered all 12 years of the discography of Kate Marie Nash – from ‘Birds’ and a particularly compelling ‘Foundations’ off her “Made Of Bricks” debut, to ‘Hate You’ and ‘My Little Alien’ from 2018’s “Yesterday Was Forever”.  Only “Girl Talk” went unrepresented, with a planned rendition of ‘Sister’ being spontaneously replaced by an unplanned performance of her ‘Free My Pussy’ single – prefaced by a lengthy, highly cogent speech that started off as a diatribe against the recent shocking Alabama abortion ruling, and ended up in praise of strong empowered women and men who support and empathise.

Kate has come a long way from the nervous young piano-playing teenager whose first major gig I witnessed at London’s now demolished Astoria Theatre in 2007.  The 2019 Kate is friendly and fearless, whether she is performing for a small record shop full of ecstatically-devoted fans who were happy to sing along every time she asked (and frequently even when she didn’t) or encouraging the mass invasion of a stage designed to hold a maximum of nine people, as I saw her do in Austin, Texas in 2017 – five of whom were Kate and her band.  She interacts with her audience like we are her closest BFFs, thinks nothing of jumping down from the stage and having a singsong with us, and on this occasion ended her set near the front door singing with the latecomers as everyone joined in on Kate’s charming song about her dog, ‘My Little Alien’.

Kate promised at the end of this terrific Kingston show that were would be a full tour later in the year when, presumably, she will have some new music to promote. More imminently she’s got a couple of gigs coming up in the summer, at Guildford’s Boilerhouse on June 9th and Brighton’s Concorde II July 31st.

I’d go to both if I were you…

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