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Kate Nash – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 07/03/10

19 March 2010, 11:17 | Written by Ryan Butcher

Who are you and what have you done with Kate Nash? Everyone’s favourite (or most hated, depending on who you talk to) red-headed piano-pop starlet is gone, replaced with a grungy-yet-sophisticated certified popstar. Turns out that sharing a bed with Ryan Jarman does have its positives…

Anyone expecting to hear the tinkling honky-tonk of ‘Foundations’ is left sourly disappointed – despite incessant pleas from the crowd. This was never going to be a greatest hits tour de force, but more, a road test of new album material in a live environment before the summer truly settles in.

Still, Nash remembers her roots, playing begrudging renditions of ‘Mouthwash’ and ‘Merry Happy’ from her defining debut, but it seems as though Made of Bricks is a part of her past she wishes to leave behind. I don’t want to suggest that there’s a touch of embarrassment in her earlier work, more that she seems a lot more confident and self-assured of the material from her forthcoming My Best Friend Is You.

Tracks such as ‘Doo-wah Do’ and ‘I Just Love You More’ have been kicking around for a while now, and show a different direction for Nash. Seemingly, she’s done her research into how to make girl-pop credible, blueprinting her new album on Motown’s favourites, from The Ronettes to Dianna Ross.

I mean, for starters, she’s dipping her toes and testing her new material at the Brudenell, of all venues. Surely the hipster place to be in Leeds at the minute, right? Right.

Trading her trademark piano for a guitar, Nash spends a lot of the gig upfront and centre. Despite her new sound, she doesn’t seem to have lost her knack for storytelling. Take ‘I Hate Seagulls’, for example, which still carries her signature of infusing quirky, middle-class references with sometimes-sickeningly loved-up gestures.

Alongside Lilly Allen, Kate Nash was one of the first female musicians of the last decade who sought out to – for want of a better phrase – break the mould of the archetypical popstar. Unlike Allen, however, it seems as though Nash has strived to re-invent herself. But evolution has always one f her stronger points – anyone who remembers her electro-abortion debut single ‘Caroline’s A Victim’ can testify to that.

So here we have it then: coming soon to a festival stage near you – the all new and improved Kate Nash – complete with now-credible influences, the same old mockney accent, and probably, a Sonic Youth t-shirt. You know – because she’s cool now.

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