It's been two years since Kate Nash's last album, My Best Friend Is You, and five years since her massive breakthrough single, 'Foundations' and yet, the crowd in Whelan's for the Dublin leg of her tour was as fanatical as a crowd at a Simply Red gig (insane). They even threw bras onstage at Nash's request. Six brassieres was the final tally. The soon-to-be 25-year-old was joined onstage by an all-female band, donned in black jeans and black tops which made her, dressed in a white wedding dress and hair like Lily Munster, stand out and lead the way for a night filled with girl power with her as Goth Spice.
The setlist mostly contained new songs, songs which saw her voice change from girly to riot grrrly in seconds. Three of her new songs, 'Death Proof', '3am' and 'Conventional Girl', the latter having heavy nods to surf-pop bands like Best Coast and Tennis. The sweet and saccharine Nash that we're used to would disappear once she donned the punk chapeau and covered Cub's 'My Chinchilla' and Fidlar's 'I Wanna Be Your Cocaine'. Her reason for covering 'I Wanna Be Your Cocaine' was that cocaine sounds a little like girl gang. With her fully-fledged female floret of musicians onstage, she's already in a girl gang and invited the crowd (mostly female) to join her gang. This conscription goes against her speech which encouraged us to "Eff Heat Magazine and be yourself" but that's just nitpicking.
This rant included big topics like sexism - which she further verbalised in an actual rap called 'Rap For Rejection' - homophobia and racism. All that was missing was world poverty. Her sexism speech concluded with a Buffy quote, one of her favourite feminists, she says: "I may be dead, but I'm still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you." This indicates that her new material deals heavily in the anger department. Her two old hits that she did play, 'Foundations' and 'Do-Wah-Doo', dealt with anger in a more passive-aggressive manner, hiding behind fluttering eyelashes and cutesy dresses. But this new Nash is out with guns blazing. She is peeved by "shit friends" and the aforementioned sexism, racism and homophobia and she will vent about it all on top of a shouty yet catchy chorus. Nash has tremendous fun on stage and she clearly adores her fans, who she took the time to take CDs off, get photos with and request links to their music videos.
One of her closing numbers, 'Lullaby For An Insomniac', was an a capella performance and displayed her stunning vocal range and her gentle cockney brogue. If by any chance, her fans weren't won over by her new material (there's no way they couldn't be - the screams were deafening), at least Nash made history by being the first person probably ever to play Mariah Carey, Pink and Ace of Base in Whelan's as part of her warm-up music. Kate Nash - rule breaker and history maker.
Review by Louise Bruton