Kate Nash - The Haunt, Brighton 28/06/12
Photos by Veronika Moore
Miss Nash has been causing a bit of an unwarranted fuss recently, after posting a new song up on her blog entitled 'Underestimate The Girl', an angry rant that was written and recorded in 24 hours. The public's reaction to this however has been more than a bit strange, with comments ranging from "she's lost it," "she's PMS-ing," "she's too old to be going through this" to "bring back the old Kate Nash." An unusual outcry from people who I assume have never taken the time to listen to her albums and discovered other similar reactional songs such as 'I Just Love You More', or 'Mansion Song', ranty-attitudey Kate Nash is nothing new, especially if you've seen her live - this girl is not quiet about her opinions.
So here we are tonight in a small venue for someone of Nash's popularity as she debuts the songs from her upcoming album, opening with new material 'All Talk' and 'Death Proof' and backed by an all girl band; there's no sight of her piano tonight. With a pair of cat ears on, eyeliner flicks and red lips she's rocking the front woman look that she's alway had the attitude to go with, and the crowd are absolutely lapping up the new material. Kate has always stomped and shouted around on stage so live her performance hasn't changed, but now her music equals the anger that's being output. Even material from previous album 'My Best Friend Is You' fits in well with this get-up just to prove it's not a complete change of direction.
'Conventional Girl' and 'Are You There Sweetheart?' follow suit, it's heavier and there's a lot more aggression behind it, Kate has gone full time Rrriot Girl. Having spent the last year working in schools to try and get girls into writing music, she's hit a wall with girls being too afraid to get into the industry knowing they'll be more judged on their looks as opposed to their talent - obviously something Kate is familiar with herself. This new album is going to lean strongly on feminism, with themes based on the way women are perceived, treated, and expected to behave, and in this largely female-based audience these are all themes that affect us almost every day so there's a very strong sense of unity in the room.
Kate has often used her gigs to promote her views on society, using her power to try and persuade young girls not to buy into those magazines or TV shows that judge everyone by the way that they look. She talks of how xenophobic our society is becoming, where homophobia and racism is now joined by hatred towards people based solely on the way they look, those who choose to dress in a certain way, are too thin, too fat, or even just have a particular hair colour. It's a strong speech that hopefully resonates with those that it needs too as she receives a loud applause, reinforced by closing her set with 'Underestimate The Girl'.
By now the audience are fully in Kate's hand, so much so that she is able to perform her encore completely alone, no backing band or any instruments and silence falls over the entire venue as she sings 'Lullaby for the Insomniac'. And whilst the crowd leave tonight having enjoyed the taste of the new material, it's because they already 'get' Kate Nash and the way she conveys her messages in her music. It's obvious she's going to have a bit of a battle on her hands with the mainstream when her album is eventually released if the over- reaction to just one song is anything to go by, but if anything I believe this will only spur her on more. You can't put a strong woman down.