Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Kate Nash @ Brighton Komedia (Intro)

A common way to start a review is to set the scene by delivering the back story. It enables context and pulls the reader in, often elaborating on the truth and forgetting the boring details. The back story makes every artist sound interesting, even if the reality is often far from it. So, here’s some context to this gig, for this review could never be impartial and open minded.

It was back in 2006 when we first came across an unsigned Kate Nash propping up the bill on an unsigned bands stage at the now extinct Electric Gardens Festival in Kent. Sitting awkwardly at a piano she bashed out slightly scrappy but charming Spektor meets Allen pop songs. We instantly fell in love with her in the way that all great romances start – you have to forget analysis of why, it just is.

Skip forward a couple of months and following Myspace liaisons we caught up with Nash at a singer songwriter’s event at Brighton Komedia. Kate performed about four songs, including a couple with Peggy Sue. They sealed the deal. Funny, sassy and a little quirky, we were convinced that Kate Nash was going to be a star. One record deal later and Foundations sat at No.2 in the UK pop charts throughout the summer of 2007. Irrespective of your views on Nash, the cocky lyrics “You said I must eat so many lemons ‘cause I am so bitter, I said I’d rather be with your friends mate, ‘cause they are so much fitter,” are if nothing else instantly memorable. Her My Fair Lady gawd blimey LDN enunciation may have annoyed as many as it pleased, but there is no denying that Foundations was an edgily brilliant pop song. Tours and festival appearances followed and all was well.

Yet music history continued to evolve. The odyssey of pop music and fashion is one of stylistic change, with artists being dumped by audiences quicker than Ashley Cole can bed another ‘classy’ lady. And whilst Nash was beavering away with album number two we jumped into bed and romped passionately with Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Blue Roses, Laura Marling, Little Boots and Marina and the Diamonds to name just a few and enjoyed it a lot.

Then we hear rumours. Rumours that the new Bernard Butler produced Kate Nash album My Best Friend Is You is not very good at all. Worse than that, we hear that it’s a steaming pile of turd. I Just Love You More, a screaming banshee Huggy Bear-esque free download puzzled, whilst the sixties surf guitar and piano pop of debut single proper Do Wah Doo trod more familiar Nash ground, with catchy melodies and hooks. Another rough demo of album track Kiss That Girl displays a fifties / sixties petticoat nostalgia, but the demo is so rough it is impossible to tell what the finished article would sound like. Then there was the new haircut. This is the context, the back story to this review. We try to bring an open mind, but there are niggles. Niggles that we are going to be the Ashley Cole of music blogging -that we are going to fall out of love with Kate Nash and bed up with whoever else we can find. There are niggles that divorce is on the horizon.

We step up to the Komedia in Brighton, four years on from our last romantic rendezvous, with concern furrowed on our brow.

Was there a happy ending ? Well, you'll have to check back here tomorrow.


musicmeister said...

Thank you for this overview and I must say, after listening to her songs on Myspace I can't say I am neither excited with the way this is going. On the contrary. The new style as well as the new and much disputed haircut picture, I can only assume darkness has fallen upon her. What caused all of this? I can't really tell. Maybe it's the pressure, the people surrounding her, hence it could even be drugs that have gotten the better of her. All I know is that I am not liking what I'm hearing right now. However, I do hope this -once so lovely- flower gets watered fast so it can bloom again anytime soon.. Or am I over reacting? Time will tell ;)

Anonymous said...

Cheeky ! Leave me on a cliffhanger ! Back tomorrow then, which I can't tell which way it is going to go. Hope that love is still in the air for you and Kate.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar tale of discovery. Once upon a time I heard a song called 'Caroline's a victim'.

It was, and still is, the worst thing I've ever heard in my entire life, and lo and behold- the results of a cynical music industry chucking hundreds of thousands of pounds at her, (presumably because she was doing pretty much the same talky mockney rubbish as Lily Allen for the brief period when that was 'cool') didn't change the worst thing about her subsequent material- her unbelievably annoying posh girl slumming it delivery and revoltingly mundane lyrics.

The fact her new album is meeting with universal yawns doesn't surprise me. She was never anything other than an utterly talentless pop puppet who ended up in the charts through mass hype and a canny collaboration, and if her label wanted to further her disgusting career any longer, they should have known better than to get her to work with the unbelievably dull Bernard Butler.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Blimey anon. Your words are even harsher than ours on the two posts that follow this one.

As you can tell from this post, we don't agree with everything you say in respect of the early Ms Nash material (although Caroline was terrible), but have some strong reservations about the live performance of many of her new songs which we review in the post that follows this one. We haven't heard the album yet so we're reserving judgement on that, but have to disagree with your views on Bernard Butler. If anyone is capable of polishing a turd, we believe he's the man to do it - especially if the artist wants to obtain a 'sixties' sound.

Alli said...

I actually really loved her new album. To me, it's one of my all time favorite albums because of its blunt "raw-ness." After recently going through a traumatic event, I feel like she put words in my mouth so I could speak for myself. This new album was so therapeutic for me and personally, one of the most powerful albums I've come into contact with for a long time. Yes, it gets very dark, but life isn't all rainbows and sunshine! She not only is able to be fun and quirky, but she doesn't shy away from taboo topics such as homophobia, feminism, and suicide. I think her new album is more consistent musically than her last, however, I agree that it is less polished. A huge upside to this album is that I we get to know the real Kate Nash with her brutal honesty in this. Ending the album with "I Hate Seagulls" (save "My best friend" hidden track) was a perfect ending, prefaced with "You Were So Far Away." And "Do You Want To Share The Guilt" has become my favorite song of all time. This album is so beautiful to me on so many levels, her music makes me feel alive and liberated and for that I'm so blessed by her. I feel like she bares her soul to us and this is her release.
While sometimes she may seem trite, I applaud her openness and courage to go in a new direction...and especially fighting off critic's opinions of her new look and weight gain.

Alli said...

But, after reading not only this review of her live performances, I am a little wary of going to see her. But, I'll be going to her LA concert on Oct. 29th!!!!! I can't wait! I'm bringing some friends who aren't familiar with her though. They'll be a little shocked, probably...

Breaking More Waves Blog said...


Based on your comments I suspect you'll enjoy the show.

Have you read our album review ?

(Click on the Kate Nash tag on the label cloud to find it)

Overall we thought the album was inconsistent but all credit to Kate for not playing safe and sticking her neck out on the line. If album 2 marks Kate's transition period, album 3 may well be a work of genius or a complete duffer. Fingers crossed for the former.

Enjoy the show.