Waving at the faithful with a crutch thanks to a bum ankle, Kate Nash took to her keyboard bench with a smile, a sip of Corona and her usual chirpy derring-do on Thursday night in Manhattan.
Presenting the bulk of the material from her recently released sophomore album, My Best Friend is You to a crowd brimming with the same kids who put her on the stage to begin with thanks to MySpace and moxie just a few years ago, Nash acquitted herself of the task beautifully, even as several audience members reminded the slightly older fans in attendance why they no longer see movies on Friday nights.
Kicky-cute outings of “Paris,” current single “Do-Wah-Doo” and “Mouthwash” off of 2007’s Made of Bricks, found the leather-wearing Nash’s girlie punk-pop show in fine early form, as the critically acclaimed British singer grinned at repeated callings of “I love you, Kate!” and a male voice screaming, “Kate! I want to have your babies!” It was, however, the girl who yelled, “Kate! You are soooo not bitter!” that won my thumbs up of the evening, as I got shoved by another oversized purse updating her Facebook page.
Playing with a punk band, The Receeders, in her off time has served Nash well, imbuing her latest material with a compelling, believable and, dare I say, informed anger and sass, as evidenced by hyper takes on “Take Me to a Higher Plane,” and “I’ve Got a Secret,” and the fearless, stream-of-consciousness mania that encompasses the best parts of “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt?” and “Mansion Song.” These are no PMS tantrums; no, these are the panicked thoughts of a successful young girl finding her inner riot grrl and licking her red-stained lips in bemused satisfaction. While Q Magazine warned readers to “look away now,” I wholeheartedly disagree – with lines like “Take a piece of raw vegetable and hold it to your breast and say you stood for nothing/You were just a hole that lacked passion. /Another undignified product of society/That girl should have been a mansion,” it’s time to start paying attention. Nash isn’t talking about knitting or shoe-shopping or a game of croquet before supper. No flower-picking, strolling, picnicking parklife here, darling.
Bricks hit “Foundations” and new gem “Later On” were suitably all honey and petulance, and with the PJ Harvey-esque “I Just Love You More,” and a rowdy, Romeo Void-leaning “Model Behavior” with its gusty refrain, “You don’t have to suck d**k to succeed,” the young girls in the crowd thrashed and swooned, leaving no question that things are just getting interesting with Nash as she embraces the Karen O. within, and further distances herself away from the Lily Allens and Duffys, carving her own underestimated path to the top. –Carrie Alison, Photos by Carrie Alison