Kate Nash, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh
Thursday 28 August 2008
Despite Kate Nash's considerable talents, there does lurk the suspicion that even many of her devotees must be getting fed up with her.
Not that there's anything objectionable about her personality or the music, but the 21-year-old north Londoner has inspired so many dreary clones that simply the amount of copper fringes on display nowadays is enough to give her an air of tired omnipresence. Imitation's the sincerest form of flattery and all that, but the Dear Diaryisms of her most commercial songs tread a tightrope between sweetness and irritation. For chunks of this gig, even Nash herself seemed bored with the whole shtick.
Partly, this could have been down to a sore throat and a few almost imperceptible technical troubles, which meant that certain songs were rather flat.
One of the saddest casualties was "Birds", her charming, original take on teenage inarticulacy, which emerged without the impassioned storytelling that Nash usually brings.
The curtained backdrop, with a blaring, bulb-lit version of her signature in the centre, mirrored the ambiance of a fairy-tale teenage girl's bedroom, but the singer's mood often seemed the precise opposite of her surroundings. Possibly chastened by the thought of her own failing voice, at one point she rather forcefully requested that people quieten down for a semi-acoustic segment.
Thankfully they did, although the gorgeous, epic B-side "Don't You Want to Share the Guilt" was more affecting for its backing than its hard-to-discern lyrics, while a new track entitled "Seagulls" worked because it's ostensibly a simple list of Nash's loves and hates.
Another new track, "Do Waa Do", excited and frustrated in equal measure. In its favour, it riffs unashamedly on Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy", but the bulk of the song appears in need of a little fleshing out, and possibly even the addition of supplementary lyrics in place of all the "la-la-las". Still, the makings of a Kate Nash classic are here, and that doesn't mean the commercially successful likes of "Foundations" and "Mouthwash".
Yet Nash can do successful and utterly engaging. Her vocal chords seemingly rallying, she put them to good use during the closing "Pumpkin Soup", actually screaming the "I just want your kiss, boy" line at the top of her voice, then tap-dancing on her piano keys for good measure.
Sadly, the vocal problems apparently put paid to an encore of "Model Behaviour", but Nash just about did enough to prove she hasn't outstayed her welcome.
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