Kate Nash review – Stanley Theatre, Liverpool University Guild of Students

Posted on 7 April 2011
By Richard Lewis
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With the Stanley Theatre already boiling hot with only half the crowd present, support band Brigitte Aphrodite and The VOBs ping-pong madly around the stage. Lead by the eponymous Brigitte, a frontwoman unafraid to drape herself in what looks like video cassette tape, the band deal in the same kooky, theatrical rock as early Kate Bush, albeit backed with scuzzy guitars.

Kate Nash, taking to the stage dressed entirely in black with Minnie Mouse ears and heart shapes made-up on her cheeks, from a distance looks strangely cat-like. Launching into a garage rock stomp reminiscent of The Kingsmen’s immortal ‘Louie Louie,’ followed by ‘Do Wah Doo’, one of Ms. Nash’s finest 45s, the hit is played surprisingly early on, easily igniting the crowd. The theory that the influence of long-term boyfriend, Ryan Jarman, lead singer of The Cribs has altered Kate’s sound seems borne out as much of the material from second album My Best Friend is You, is powered by raucous electric guitars, with keyboards taking a back seat.

A tone poem followed by a long, sprawling almost prog-rock number loses the crowd slightly, comprising of two songs back to back, the sauna-like heat restricting peoples’ movements, with most preferring to simply stand still. ‘Foundations’ however pulls in the slack and is unsurprisingly greeted with the biggest cheer of the evening, the crowd word-perfect throughout the song. A rousing ‘Merry Happy,’ one of her most detailed narrative songs, rounds off the main set.

After a long, teasing wait for an encore, she re-emerges to lead the audience through a massed sing-along, concluding with a loping ‘Pumpkin Soup,’ stretched out via various tempo changes, almost morphing at one point into The Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ The song and the gig concludes with Nash stood on top of her keyboard as the sound degenerates into a cacophony. Throwing lyric sheets and setlists out into the audience and delivering a short tribute to Kurt Cobain, Kate wanders from the stage, beaming, job done.

Photography: James Chapman (www.facebook.com/pages/James-Chapman-Photography)