Kate Nash has undergone a vast transformation in her performance persona. The odd part about that is what she was before—a largely prototypical, mainstream pop singer confection with an appropriate amount of British ‘tude. Over time, Nash has evolved into herself, eschewing the super saccharine, bubblegum, inoffensive demeanor for something a little closer to what can be described as ’90s alt girl/counter culture. She’s not necessarily anti-fashion, but more an embracement of girlish geekery. She wraps her arms firmly around a woman’s ability to draw outside the lines and being beautiful without even remotely being conventional. It is spunky, charming and often silly in a tongue-in-cheek way.
At one of our recent go-to haunts—the SONOS Studio—Pandora sponsored a private event, featuring Kate Nash performing with her full band. For some reason, the heat in the venue was out of control, making for a humid environment for the lively pop singer. It’s hard to dance and wave your hands when the air feels so thick, and Nash made several references to it throughout the night. Nevertheless, Nash stormed through her set with a wide smile and all the vitality one could hope for. New album tracks “Sister” and “Death Proof” opened the set, the former setting the tone for her more riot grrl-inspired sound while in the latter she lead her all-female band on bass instead of guitar, coolly singing, “I don’t have time to die.” Earlier career tracks “Kiss That Grrrl,” “Do-Wah-Doo” and “Foundations” were also included in the set. Most fun were the escalating crescendo/epic finales of recent single “OHMYGOD!” and the bouncy kiss-off “Fri-End?”
Later, she pulled her band back to let them sing as gang vocals on “You’re so Cool, I’m So Freaky,” a simple nod to earlier stages of her career when she performed impressively with only an acoustic guitar. The proper end to the set was a long, worked-out rendition of one-off single, “Under-Estimate the Girl.” It served quite well as the rallying call for all that has been her metaphorical awakening to the truer side of her personality. Screaming “underestimate me” before allowing the song’s outro to morph into a rocking conclusion, the song gels quite nicely with the best pieces of Nash’s personality. It is lively, free-wheeling and fun, without any of the glossy drivel pop stars are usually expected to project.
Photos by Raymond Flotat