Kate Nash Live at Paradise

Kate Nash LiveKate Nash is every girl’s dream best friend. Her performance at the Paradise Rock Club last night was the first stop of her three-month tour to promote her newest album, Girl Talk, and the evening was a celebration of feminism and friendship. The crowd was a mix of ages and genders, and despite waiting in a long line in the rain beforehand, the show was full of contagious energy.

Brooklyn all-girl band Supercute! opened the show with a set of indie pop songs that fit the mood of the night perfectly. Although they were wearing flowery dresses and strumming ukuleles, these girls really knew how to rock out. Meanwhile, the songs played over the sound system between bands continued to set the tone for Nash’s set: Joan Jett, Beyonce, even Taylor Swift – tonight was all about girl power.

Longtime fans of Nash will notice a significant change in the singer’s latest style. Gone are the cutesy piano-centered songs we heard off her 2007 debut, Made of Bricks. Girl Talk is gritty and punk. Nash explains that this new sound is part of a natural progression, and was inspired by women she looks up to. When discussing her new look backstage before the show, Nash excitedly pulls up a YouTube video to better describe her inspiration for the album. The clip is a scene from the 1981 movie Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, about an all-girl punk band. Nash mouths along with the lines and the lead character yells onstage. After the clip ends, she says, “I just wanted to get the aesthetic and attitude of someone like that, who’s really tough, and I wanted the look and the music and the everything to be that attitude cause it made me feel better… It’s the best movie if you’re sad and you want to feel strong and tough. She’s so cool! I dyed my hair like hers.” And sure enough, Nash’s latest hairstyle is much more punk-rock today than her brunette side-swept bangs of years ago.

The audience at the Paradise started screaming in anticipation before Nash even walked onstage, and when she did, they went wild. She and her ‘girl-band,’ as she calls them, opened with the song “Sister” and transitioned into “Death Proof.”

The four musicians bounced and danced around the stage with huge smiles on their faces, looking tough but clearly having a good time. They proceeded to play many songs off Girl Talk, including the droning “Oh” and the sixties-sounding “Fri-End?” Though the audience was not as familiar with the new songs, they danced and cheered for each one.

Nash and her girl band wrote Girl Talk in an LA mansion that is best described as eccentric. “There were giant swanky views of LA, fresh fruit, taxidermy tigers, and statues,” Nash says. The dramatic setting heightened her emotions, which during the writing process were very dramatic themselves. “I was writing because personal stuff I went through was really bad and I needed to go into my rehearsal space. I was so focused. It was like, I have to do this, because it was either do this or go into a mental health clinic, you know? Art is like therapy for me, especially on this record.”

For fans who aren’t as familiar with the new material yet, Nash played plenty of her old hits. “Mariella” and “Foundations” became crowd sing-alongs, and she even ventured into the crowd to dance with her fans during “Doo-Wah-Doo.”

What is so great about Nash is that she can assume all these different styles and moods and it always feels genuine. What girl doesn’t dream about being a leather-jacket wearing rock chick one day and a sweet pop singer the next? It is this ‘be who you want to be’ attitude that Nash hopes to pass on to her listeners. She is very vocal about working with organizations like Because I am a Girl and Protect a Girl. She looks at her fame as an opportunity to speak directly to young girls. “I really believe in change and revolution and inspiring other people. I want to create a better future for a younger generation of girls… I think when girls are in safe environments they’re really supportive of each other. That’s my main thing.”

After a long set and an encore, the night ended with a spotlight on Nash and her guitarist as they sang “We Get On.” Nash was all smiles as she left her audience with one final message: “Don’t care what people think of you, just enjoy being young.”

By Mary Kennedy

If you liked this, check out:
Reykjavik Calling at the Paradise
Animal Collective Live At HOB

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