Sunday, 20 March 2011

Kate Nash @ The Sugarmill 20th March 2011

Review by Sian Eardley

Photo by Alex Mulliner

Kate Nash. Now here’s a lady who doesn’t really need any introducing; she’s blissful, she’s delicious, she’s the strawberry to anybody’s trifle, and she fell from Heaven to play a night at Stoke Sugarmill, which she called an ‘overdue’ date, having not been here since late 2007 when ‘House of Bricks’ was at its peak.

On a personal note, a regret of mine is that I had a ticket to her ’07 performance, but never went due to my then-boyfriend having waited too long to get himself sorted with a ticket, and so missed out. NEVER, EVER, again will I choose mush over music (it rarely lets you down!), and Nashy is just so delectable, I’m glad I finally had the chance to redeem myself last night.

I was told that the secret of her charm lies in her ‘homemade’ approach- by that I mean, her feminine, delicate and domestic ways that makes her a strong woman icon; cute yet poignant, unique, and her wiles reflect in her songs of heart and truth in her organic fashions.

Following on from the night before (Seth Lakeman), the good vibes continued to fill the air in The ‘Mill, with everybody in their best attire in honour of the lady herself, and the whole thing was a splendid affair. It was so special, only one support act fronted: the wicked ‘Brigitte Aphrodite and The VOBs’. With the funfair intro theme unleashed, everyone rolled up to hear her musical offerings.
The reasons for her as support were clear, it was Nash in her early days, with a little more punk spirit, fire, and on-the-nose attitude. Every word was heightened with a Cockney flourish: a wonderful celebration of dialect and language on stage (as we find with Kate). In fact, she reminded me of a poetically colloquial Cribs, others said a female fronted Sex Pistols, Juliette Lewis singing out an Eastenders episode, or a Del Boy persona clashed with Arctic Monkeys backing. Whichever way, it was a performance art piece. Take ‘Bromley’ for example, talking of your common ‘MacDonald’s’ and getting grotesquely ‘f*ngered’ (similar to Kate Nash’s ‘We Get On’ – doing‘some really nasty stuff down in the park with Michael’), and it may be vulgar, but then, like Nash, she has her endearing moments of humanity, talking of men who smell like ‘digestive biscuits’, i.e. the thoughts and workings of our minds, making these musical marvels accessible to us for putting themselves on our level.

Like ‘Sons and Daughters’ front woman Adele Bethel, Brigitte used her strong sexuality to work the stage, pulling at her dress, her hair, and her mic, and she totally nailed it. She was springy, fun, and full of spirit, feisty and fantastic. Although the distinct image she left me with was the ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ moment – ‘you sound like you’re from Laaannnnndannnn’, she did leave me with a smile on my face, and so Brigitte and her VOB’s certainly fulfilled the task of filling the big shoes before Kate Nash took to the stage.

Then, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for…Kate Nash with her female band in tow, sticking it to the woman, liberation in motion, girl power and all that sh*te, and I don’t think I’d choose anyone else but Nashy to front it. I felt sick in anticipation for all others in the crowd too, let alone myself, just waiting for her to put those rosy red lips to the mic. Instantly a smile comes to everyone’s faces, as she played a cracking rendition of ‘I Just Love You More’. Enigmatic, electric, and downright sexy ‘Waahhhhhs’ bounced off the walls, along with the sultry bass line, seeing Nash use her vocal abilities like an extra instrument as the likes of Robert Plant just might. She’s delicious. She’s delightful. She sounds superb and she’s gorgeous! Can I marry her…?

She conveys in her image and songs a sweetness, a sweetness that shines like distant planets and future hopes, her music prevails that life can be good, and kind, and full of love and cupcakes. We’re taken into her rose-tinted world where all is well, and it’s pleasant to escape today’s damning headlines. We certainly need more Kate Nash these days…

‘Do Wah Doo’ was up next; 60’s rockabilly swing that sounded huge, and paramount in quality, doing her second album ‘My Best Friend is You’ so much justice; look and sound both adorable.

‘Mouthwash’ made an appearance to a legion of fans. From ‘This…Is my face…’, everyone was on board. This song truly captivates and catches her at her best, getting right into the psyche, a true female picking at her appearance and then taking it into a positive light (like the Gok Wan effect), which is every girl’s dream. The standard is outstanding, and the cutesy projector with cutesy images glittering, is the cream on the cake. Every detail has been tended to, and by the ‘Oooh Oh-Oh-Oh on a Friday night’ chorus clencher to Mouthwash; the party has arrived with added crowd surfers rocking on up to Kate Nash bay. It’s still obvious today why her debut album ‘House of Bricks ‘ was so huge, with material of this caliber.

The woman on stage with the heart-painted cheeks, I don’t think I’ve ever been this bowled over by a musician, and it’s bettered by her modest approach. She should be tag lined like Mary Poppins, minus the ‘practically’, to become: ‘Perfect in Every Way’, weaving polkadot ribbons of sweet music into the airwaves. To close your eyes and hear her, you envisage strawberries, cream ties and bon bons. How does she pull of the domestic Goddess and Rock Queen thing so well!? I wanna be her, I want that voice, that look, that aura, that sweetness and the whole dollhouse life- it’s brilliant!

Her acoustic number: ‘Don’t You want to Share the Guilt?’ was fit for film, an Audrey Hepburn moment, inspirational, every last bit of it. She’s good for the heart and soul is Kate Nash. Even the fans were making hearts with their hands in the air, sending their unconditional love and gratitude for tonight – very cute – and I totally get it. I love her even more now too. I hold a whole new level of respect for her now too. ‘House of Bricks’ was always a personal album to pie and signified a pivotal point in my life, but it really is cherished and put upon a pedestal now it’s been seen live.

‘Birds’ had to be one of the finest tracks of all night, (again a personal one to myself); it’s very real, moving and heart clenching. Added to the fact that this song could bring a tear to your eye, the softness of her vocals and the gentile melody was mesmerizing: ‘Birds…when you look at them and you see that they’re beautiful – that’s how I feel about you’. It’s not so melancholy, it’s eye opening, she shows us in song that there’s so much more to this world, we take too much for granted and we should hold onto love.

Nash was a bright, twinkling star in her sequined get-up, she was more Karen O than Karen O, and ‘I’ve got a Secret’ was a more successful political, homophobic rant than Gaga’s ‘Born this Way’- which is just plain trying too hard. Nash’s childish allure somehow managed to also empower her statements and make them more monumental. ‘Mansion’ was as cool as John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Evidently Chickentown’, performed in much the same style; creating her whole belief system on stage before our very eyes; as authoritative and iconic as Fanny Craddock, you can see why this pretty lady is a happy lady, because she’s sensational, and Stoke Suagrmill knew it!

‘D*ckhead’ was slick, even Samuel L Jackson couldn’t have made it cooler, and ‘Mariella’, with piano-tastic times, reignited the rebellious brilliance that made the skeleton of the song – soft, but punchy, and downright delightful. The climax ‘Ever, ever, ever, ever… ever, ever, ever, ever, ever…’ heard live, and amongst a sea of fans highlighted the genius before her lyrical songs and the emphasis and effect upon the listener. Needless to say ‘Merry Happy’ was well received as well. It was all wonderful.

‘Foundations’ of course was what everyone was waiting for. Some even left after she played it, just so they could get their fix of the anthemic tune. The instant thought pattern assigned to Kate Nash is ‘Nash – Foundations-Mint!’, so really you could see where these listeners were coming from. Better then Lily Allen in dialect, more tuneful than Jamie T, and unbelievably beautiful, ‘Foundations’ is a classic hit from the 00’s, and is as memorable as seeing The Killers perform ‘Mr. Brightside’ live, it’ll stay with you, and makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.

Post encore, she finished up with the sassy ‘Pumpkin Soup’, and I’m sure every male in the audience would have given her their kiss. She proved that sisters are indeed ‘doin’ it for themselves’. After taking her heels off (a girl after my own heart!), she clambered onto her keyboard and plinky-plonked the finale with her feet. There is nothing this woman can’t do? As Carly Simon would say: ‘Nobody Does it Better’. Furthermore, she went out dishing free tour merch to all her crowd, getting in touch with her adoring fans. Why isn’t she a superhero again…?

It’s true, feminine icons are back to dominating the music world: Kate Nash, Florence and the Machine, and Rihanna – all strong, sexy and successful. What a brilliant time to be female and to love music!

She wooed us and won us over with her live performance, shooting her cupids arrow into the Sugarmill sky. I’d give her 10/10; she’s right up there in the favoruites. Whit-woo! We love you Kate! x

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