Review: Kate Nash at The Imperial
It’s been over ten years since Kate Nash’s single “Foundations” sky rocketed her to fame. The UK singer-songwriter experienced major acclaim in the MySpace music era, charting high and garnering major fandom across the globe. In the decade post “Foundations”, though, Nash’s career has been far more interesting and eclectic. Having just released her fourth album, the crowd funded Yesterday Was Forever, Nash’s persona and live presence is way more enchanting and mesmerizing even more than her well known debut.
Appearing at Vancouver’s Imperial Nightclub, Nash donned a hot pink number, a reference to Yesterday‘s opening track “Life In Pink”. But she played to both sides of the fence, peppering her set with old favourites from her debut Made of Bricks, new dep cuts from Yesterday, and a little bit of everything in between. At one point, Nash’s bad ass all female band even launched into The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”, though that was only a quick tease.
What a treat it was to hear old Nash favourites from her Made of Bricks days live. But even more so, it was fun and refreshing to see the now 30-year-old star revisiting these classics with new experience under her belt. Nash was a teenager when she wrote and recorded these tunes. Now, with over ten years’ life and industry experience under her belt, these songs of yearning and lovelorn feelings take on new meaning, particularly under Nash’s new lens.
The Kate Nash that released Made of Bricks was a quirky, tongue-in-cheek jokester with a penchant for snappy lyrics, catchy tunes, and a girl next door persona. Since then, she’s invoked her more interesting sides: an irreverent rock and roller with her fingers dipped in punk rock, feminism, and mental health awareness. She would touch on all of these elements throughout her show. She would also combine old songs with this new energy, like on set closer “Merry Happy”, which started with a plunky, chirpy keyboard tune, and ended with Nash, full body slamming on the instrument and yelling in a chaotic, hilarious manner.
Needless to say, she’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch live. The new songs also showcase Nash’s commitment to being anything but a one trick pony. New song “Musical Theatre” is Nash’s tribute to mental health awareness (“It’s hard being alive and having a brain and… consciousness!,” she lamented leading into the tune.) But causes aside, Nash is a hell of a performer, wielding a guitar and piano throughout the set, and constantly chatting up her crowd, exhibiting her down to earth nature that was so damn refreshing to witness in a live singer.
Older tunes like “Birds” and “Mariella” were performed with an edgy, cheeky punk kiss-off vibe. The latter featured an acoustic spin that also shed a light on Nash’s beautiful singing voice. Though she’s often talk singing, rapping, screaming, or otherwise, on the moments she lets her voice shine, you realize how classically and technically gifted Nash is as a vocalist.
In a full commitment to the live experience, Nash’s video art was the perfect minimal accompaniment, like using Disney’s “Skeleton Dance” cartoon during “Skeleton Song” or spelling out “Mariella”‘s name in a bubbly lettered font. Overall, though, Nash didn’t need any help commanding the stage, as her performance easily garnered attention from her loving fans. It’s easy to see why people love Kate Nash, and it’s refreshing that she’s evolving in her career and looks like she’s having a hell of a time in the process.