Kate Nash - The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, 12/4/13

For someone like me - someone interested mainly in alternative music - artists featuring in the top 40 like Kate Nash have never really had much of a presence in my music collection. Somehow though, every so often one slips through the gap and catches my attention (I generally blame Jools Holland's roster always including some form of pop artist to go with the rockers and niche musicians) and takes up their position on my shelves of CDs. Kate Nash has long been one of those artists on my iPod as a guilty pleasure with her first album Made Of Bricks being a firm favourite. Obviously though the big test of any artist in my eyes is how they perform live and in the discovery of whether that chart position was the result of industry engineering and auto-tune, or a genuinely talented artist managing to get their break into the mainstream. Having unfortunately missed her previous visits to Aberdeen I have had to wait until this evening to hear the proof that Kate Nash has always deserved her place in the CD rack.

Naturally though, what gig doesn't come with a support act to get us warmed up for the headliner? This evening the job goes to Glasgow band Kitty The Lion, who support Kate on the Scottish leg of the tour and begin the female-fronted theme of the evening. As I have mentioned before, at live gigs it is always nice to hear a Scottish voice on stage, and Kitty The Lion are another testament to this; with a distant Glaswegian flavour they start us off with their superb blend of cheery, folk-tinted pop/rock, full of solid guitars and harmonies from frontwoman Anna and her male compatriots. An excellent way to start the evening, with an enthusiastic response from the crowd.

With a break between bands to reset the stage it is on to the main feature of the night: Kate Nash. Contrary to what was mentioned above about poppy chart music, if you were expecting a set of piano-laden tunes that hark to earlier appearances on Jools Holland you may be in for a surprise. Kate Nash takes to the stage dressed entirely in black, and having swapped the pianos for a bass and rather louder all-female backing band. Launching straight into some of her newest tracks like Sister and Death Proof we are treated to a proper rock band with a much darker sound, distorted guitars and a good lashing of volume that certainly grabs the attention of someone like me (and based on the reception has certainly been well received by other fans). My somewhat cynical view of artists who have had chart success has been firmly dispelled after seeing Kate take easily to the stage with a voice that, if anything, sounds even better live than it does on record, with guitar playing to match from both her and her band. It would be amiss to stick only to the new songs though, so her back catalogue also gets an airing in a new guise: songs like Foundations and Do Wah Do get a guitar-based makeover that fits perfectly with the newer tracks, and still retains all the charm and feel of the originals. The final proof comes with the very last track of the evening - the encore of We Get On. With just one guitar for backing, Kate's vocals completely steal the show, something that could easily have fallen flat for many singers but here sounds jaw dropping.

I may have been a bit hesitant when I was heading to the gig, and unsure of how the evening would pan out, but I think it is fair to say that Kate Nash has completely won me over live; it was an absolutely superb show all round.

Check out David Lovie's full gig photo gallery here.


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