Kate Nash: 3.May.2010 – Chicago

Hailing from England, Kate Nash is making waves in this world of music. She may have only two albums to draw from, but she certainly has a youthful energy to bring to a sold out audience and her songs as delve into various genres of rock, pop, and even punk. At times, her voice recalls the pop punk sweetness of Ida Maria from Norway. Still, her set proved emotional in a much different way than Maria’s tends to, with a sense of personal intimacy as the lights turned off and her fans focused all attention on her.

There was a definite progression of the 75-minute-long-set. Beginning mainly with her more catchy singles, Nash encouraged the audience to dance and they easily sang along to the choruses and verses that they had memorized listening to both of Nash’s albums. Nash was quite playful, especially at the start of the evening, showing an enchanting side to her quirky personality whilst relating stories of crazed fans and railing against homophobia. The fact that she was on crutches didn’t stop her from standing while playing guitar, though she also sat at her keyboard to provide some of the melody lines to her songs. At one point, an audience member even crowd surfed up to the front in order to dance behind her on stage as she played.

Beginning with a very encouraging and positive, “Paris”, Nash charmed the crowd rather quickly. She showed her light-hearted side during popular songs like “I’ve Got a Secret”, “Kiss That Grrrl”, and “Take Me to a Higher Plane”. Nash’s backing band was tight throughout, the instruments being used standard for a rock band including bass, guitar, drums and at times keyboards. This tends to place the emphasis more on Nash’s vocals and the quality of her lyrics live. At times, her voice has more soul than what you would expect from the chord progressions and her delivery was also impressively versatile.

The mood of the set changed quite significantly later on in the set when Nash asked for darkness and revealed her likes and dislikes in songs like “I Hate Seagulls”. “Model Behavior” also came off as more aggressive and punk than her previous songs. “I Just Love You More” proved edgy with squeals and screams turning it into a jarring devotional, whereas the refrain “I don’t have to be your baby” in “Mansion Song”, easily become an anthem for all the young girls clinging to the stage in front. Devoted to Nash despite her range in styles and moods, they were ready to echo the sentiment expressed by the title of her latest album released this year, My Best Friend Is You. Hopefully, like any good friend, she’ll come back to visit soon.

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