I read a lot about Kate Nash before seeing her debut West Coast show at San Francisco's own Popscene on Saturday night, and my favorite had to be the comparison to her rival British songstress mates: "More likable than Lily and less scary than Amy." Really? Did that mean she never complained and had good hair? I was sold...
The sold-out show at Popscene was one of four live dates in the U.S. for the 20-year old Nash, who has been pimped out by the internet and MTV relentlessly in recent weeks; you couldn't go too far without hearing the ditty "Foundations" on an avert somewhere. In San Francisco, fans began lining up upwards of three hours before her set time to grab a coveted front row spot.
Local darlings Minipop brashed out the sweet indiepop opening, proving their headlining gig for this year's Noisepop were well deserved. As Nash took stage around 11:30 p.m., a barrage of digital camera flashes and "I love you, Kate!" flooded the stage, with a red-cheeked Nash picking up her guitar to begin.
Nash did her best on ballads, very much like she killed on "We Get On." Her earnest and very real approaches in these types of tracks gained much credibility on her part, and were able to showoff her skills as a songwriter and pianist and her real instrument: her voice. More upbeat songs seemed to garner a little more trouble; on encore "Pumpkin Soup," her voice seemed drowned in the percussion, a lack of trumpet was definitely noticed (I wanted to clap along), and the vibe just didn't seem to click together. Tracks like "Dickhead" seem to be the compromise, finding Nash in a stronger stance vocally.
Perhaps one part nervousness, another inexperience, Nash overall succeeded in winning each person in the room with her simple lyrics and Cockney accent. All bets say that her full tour later this year will have worked out the kinks to deliver an excellent show.