Kate Nash says says “Bah!” to sprains

from Teaparty Boston, May 17, 2010

Useful Things: Kate Nash Plays Through the Pain

Photo by Michael Young

“I hate to ask, but is anyone near the fucking bar?”

That’s Kate Nash, partway through her set at Great Scott, humbly begging her adoring audience for a drink . They were all too happy to oblige, and through the rest of the set, the PBRs and vodka-Cokes fell like manna from heaven.

If anyone ever deserved a drink (and a little manna), it was Nash that evening. The night before, she had tripped in a Toronto hotel and wound up with a sprained ankle. But a twisted joint wasn’t about to come between Nash and her performance, the second on her North American tour.

Though the London-based Nash is a pretty big deal in the US, and a pretty giant deal in the UK, this series of gigs is all about playing eensier venues—Great Scott being the eensiest of all. She was performing in support of her sophomore album, My Best Friend is You. This one is rowdier than Nash’s first, less pop and more rock. But it’s still got all her trappings—sweet hooks, take-no-prisoners lyrics, and hefty helping of post-millennial twentysomething rage.

The Great Scott show was ragey too, fueled in no small part by the fact that Nash was pretty well in the bag by night’s end (fear not, impressionable children—it was all in the name of pain management). Nash played most of the show seated at her keyboard for her ankle’s sake, which had a banner draped in front proudly proclaiming, “A cunt is a useful thing.” Otherwise, she stood on one leg with the other propped up on a stool to play guitar. Her backup band was most obliging.

The show chiefly featured songs from My Best Friend, with a few forays into classics from her debut album, Made of Bricks. And then there was the banter. She ended the talky, brilliant “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt?” by asking the audience, “That’s my song about you. Do you like it?” She prefaced coming-out-of-the-closet anthem “I’ve Got a Secret” growling, “For all you homophobes out there, this song’s just for you.”

As the show progressed and Nash grew tipsier, the songs got louder. Nash palm-slapped the piano keys and attacked the guitar strings, and the audience didn’t mind one bit. It takes a serious trooper to play a show the night after she’s been confined to a wheelchair. But an indefatigable chick like Nash, who got her start on MySpace, grew big, stared the many-fanged fame beast in the face and didn’t ditch one iota of personal quirk, isn’t the type to let a little thing like bodily injury keep her down.

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