Kate Nash at the 9:30 Club

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Photo Credit: Author
Photo Credit: Author

It’s not often that you see a performer who truly gives her all on stage. Kate Nash is one of those artists. She doesn’t just sing her songs–she creates an environment in which concertgoers have an experience unlike any other. Between her Girl Gang, her strange yet relatable speeches, and her well coordinated crowd surfing skills, Kate Nash turned her November 11th concert into a night I’ll never forget.

You might ask, “What’s a Girl Gang?” It’s a group of three badass females who form the band backing Kate Nash. Nash has always been a fan of transferring gender roles and is adamant that her band be dominated by women. Her choice is not only inspiring, but also works in her favor. Her Girl Gang, sporting dope “Death Proof” tees, helps to convey Nash’s themes that women are awesome and guys suck. These women were especially inspiring to me because they didn’t need an extravagant wardrobe or the gimmicks that often come with female artists; they instead jammed out in t-shirts and jeans and looked really cool doing it.

Interestingly, Nash’s concerts show a different side of her music. She jammed out on her Fidlar-stickered bass for the majority of the show, creating a very rock vibe, though she did pick up a guitar and sit at her keyboard (decorated in a Christmas theme) too. Nash’s albums have always had an indie-pop feel to them so it was quite surprising to hear her rock-influenced sound, with sick riffs making her songs more upbeat and danceable while adding a rock twist. Don’t get me wrong, although I’m more used to her as an indie-pop artist, it was amazing to experience this other side of her. Not many artists are capable of crossing over genres and fewer are able to cross over genres with their own songs. Moreso, most artists cannot perform within other genres well and often stay in their comfort zone.

Unlike many of the concerts I’ve been too, Kate Nash demanded the attention of the audience and she sure got it. She interacted with the crowd as though they weren’t mere strangers but rather fellow music lovers, friends even, through telling stories and jokes. She talked about her darkest days, her most depressing moments in life, which humanized her. She told the crowd how she once found string cheese wrappers in her bed and knew in that that was the low point in her life. It’s things like that that are more appreciated by the audience than being told that we’re the best crowd. Lezbehonest, performers say those lines to everyone. It is clear that Nash isn’t the type of artist who tries to please people, her music is a clear indicator of that. She is the type that defies the norms and sings about what truly matters.

If there’s anything that I learned from her concert (yes, I learned something and it was just as strange to me), it’s that you should always a) be yourself and b) express your feelings. Kate Nash proved on stage that she doesn’t need to try to be anyone other than who she is. She sings about heartbreak, “shit friends”, and being a normal, depressed person. Her song “OMYGOD!” explains the controversy of wanting to be with someone and having to pretend you’re fine alone. Nash’s music truly relates to her audience and especially affects my life. Her honest words translate into amazing records. Nash gave several mini-speeches throughout her concert, one of which was about purging the people in your life who are simply “shit friends”. I’ve never gotten advice while at a concert.

Listening to her albums now, I realize that her live sound is so much fuller than her recorded songs. It’s not just the energy she sings with, it’s also the rock-vibe of the guitar and the thump of the drums that give her songs a fuller sound live. It was the first time I’ve heard an artist who sounded better live than on her records.

One of my favorite parts of her concert was when she discussed the issue of Pussy Riot. Many artists, like Nash, have addressed the issues surrounding Pussy Riots and their arrests in Russia, but none do it like Nash. She chose to write a song about being a repressed woman in society called “Free My Pussy”, inspired by Pussy Riot and their struggle for their voices to be heard. The song consisted of a message followed the words “free my pussy” being repeated followed by cat noises. Yes, she meowed at her crowd. Though the track sounds silly, it’s this kind of dedication that makes Nash unlike most artists. She takes the time during her concert to address real-life, political issues and inform her audience of the troubles that come with being a woman in the music industry.

The show ended as most do with an encore. I am not a fan of encores because I think they’re overdone and expected. However, Nash brought people on stage and even stage dove while playing the bass (she crowdsurfed while playing the bass and just being awesome in general). Her final song was her classic, “Merry Happy”, a jam-packed song that she performed on her Christmas-themed keyboard. Her and her band ultimately just riffed out the end of her song, creating a powerful, neverending and exciting end to an amazing night. Nash is definitely an artist I cannot wait to see again.

–Jordan Farley

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