A Little Bit of Everything, All Rolled into One

March 27th, 2013

Kate Nash – The Bowery Ballroom – March 26, 2013

Is it possible for someone to be both badass and cutesy? If ever there were a candidate, Kate Nash would be that person. The British rocker catapulted to fame off of the strength of “Foundations,” a highly personal relationship song released in 2007. The track reached the second spot on the UK Singles Chart through its catchy but intensely personal story of a failing relationship. Nash, disgruntled and desperate, but ever the optimist, leaves us hanging as to how it works out—presumably, poorly—but we’d now gotten a taste of her bittersweet world, and it’s highly compelling. These types of stories proved to be a recipe for success for Nash—her debut LP, Made of Bricks, peaked at No. 1 in the UK and charted here, and her follow-up, My Best Friend Is You, reached No. 8 in the UK. Both albums performed well due to breakup tracks with deftly crafted hooks.

Then, Nash released Girl Talk earlier this month, and it was a curveball. Her pop tunes were replaced by punk-y and distorted ones, and although her keen sense of melody still shines through, it’s less evident from the outset. During her show last night at The Bowery Ballroom, it seemed at first that the aforementioned badass and cutesy qualities that always defined her had split: There was the wicked punk rocker apparently without heart on “Death Proof,” who then turned around to endear the crowd in between songs, telling stories of miserable award-shows experiences. But as the night went on, it became evident that Nash kept both of her qualities intact. I found it impossible not to nod my head to Nash’s melodies while she sang her more punk-rock songs, and I’m a vehement denier of most punk. During the encore, Nash played Meredith Brooks’s “I’m a Bitch,” and before launching into the epic chorus, she gave us the key to unlocking her amazing live show and illuminating her dynamic character: “I’m a little bit of everything, all rolled into one.” —Alex Kapelman

(Try to Grow a Pair of tickets to tomorrow night’s sold-out Kate Nash show at Music Hall of Williamsburg.)