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Gig review Sweet melodies and cracking lyrics

MIK SABIERS relishes an evening with an artist that has set her stall on challenging tradition

Kate Nash
EartH Theatre, London 


DISCOVERED on MySpace, signed up and spat out by the music industry, a fervent feminist empowering community and challenging industry and political norms, Kate Nash continues to evolve. 

Appearing on a set dressed like some kind of warped Wonka factory, with the Pure Imagination theme as the taped intro, Kate Nash receives a more than warm welcome as she takes to the stage ahead of the release of new album, 9 Sad Symphonies. 

It’s been over five years since the last album — Yesterday Was Forever — and for an artist that has set her stall on challenging tradition, it is apt that the night starts with a string quintet providing a classical feel to the action. 

The first three songs are all from the new album, a brave move, but from said opening orchestral strings to gritty guitar, Nash immediately has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand.

Over 20-plus songs and the next two hours Nash segues from Riot Grrl punk to innocent acoustic pop and back again, although in places there are some long gaps between tracks.

Highlights include a sweary, but on point Dickhead, Free My Pussy — Nash’s paean to Pussy Riot — and an action packed Space Odyssey 2001 — an alternative love song built on the back of the classic movie. As such, it is typical Nash, observing the ordinary and extraordinary and adding her own little lemon twist. 

But this is also very much a collective effort with some 10 musicians on stage, and Nash exalting the audience to also get involved — at one stage she darts right into the throng — they do. 

The first piano note from her final song Foundations gets the biggest cheer of the night, and Nash revels in the moment rather than viewing it as a musical millstone. It helps that the mix of sweet melodies and cracking lyrics have stood the test of time, but it’s a fitting end to a packed and song-filled night.

This was not so much a concert, more a collective celebration, with Nash centre stage ready for the next step of her creative journey, judging by this it will be more than interesting to follow. 
9 Sad Symphonies will be released on June 21 by Kill Rock Stars
On tour until August 24 including Glastonbury. For more information see:


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