Mod Club, Toronto, April 6
By Anupa Mistry
Londoner Kate Nash came of age when music was being bombarded by a bevy of British female songstresses. Most were putting out sweet, retro-styled music informed by a particularly English way of singing (accented) and writing (self-conscious, cheeky), and 22-year-old Nash was no exception. But we’re three years on since the release of her popular debut Made of Bricks, and new album My Best Friend Is You is Nash’s attempt at matriculating from moppet to mature.
That said, her tour kick-off at Toronto’s Mod Club wasn’t exactly adult. Rather, Nash — who’s ditched the High Street look for bobbed hair and enviable platform wedges — mixed it up, giving the sold-out crowd a taste of new and updated-old. But ditching the saccharine status is obviously a priority; draped from her keyboard was a sign declaring, “A cunt is a useful thing.”
Newer material made up the bulk of the hour-and-a-half-long set. The louder, guitar-driven, ’60s soul-inspired songs work well on stage and, despite the aggressive departure, suit her. Moving between keys and guitar, Nash wailed and warbled her way through 14 tracks plus an encore in her trademarked clipped cockney. Obvious highlights included lead single “Do-Wah-Do,” “I Hate Seagulls,” and “I’ve Got a Secret” — some of the more fun and singable tracks from the new release.
But for all the “edgier” trappings, Nash is still a sweetheart, giggling before taking a shot, giggling with her band members, giggling while giving it up to opening band Supercute!, and giggling while slamming homophobia. She bantered with and played to her obvious Made of Bricks fan base, giving them the piano pop they wanted (first single “Foundations,” “Mouthwash” and “Merry Happy”) and obviously appreciative of the eager assemblage before her.