Kate Nash, Brigitte Aphrodite, Sister Lovers
As new Belfast-based promotions company Red Roof open the doors to their first gig the mood is set, oddly, by Sister Lovers who, despite having a female name and being support at a Kate Nash gig, are an all-male three piece. Playing guitar music in the mid-90s Britpop fashion which is at odds with their twee indiepop handmade band name sign, it's not unpleasant but it's all very middle of the road and we're waiting for the theatrics that never come. They sing "I don't know what the future holds" and on another day, supporting a different act they may be considered to be modern day poets and/or prophets. Butï¿½ not today.
Brigitte Aphrodite inhabits that ground between singer and comedienne, coming across like a machine that spliced Victoria Wood with Beth Ditto. Sometimes though she is a little too Victoria, deliberately dancing in a wacky manner and concentrating more on getting laughs than singing a song. She's undoubtedly funny, but we would still find her funny even if she didn't feel the need to scream it in our faces at every available opportunity. Having said that, she's incredibly endearing. She's finding her feet but you get the feeling that she'll find them soon.
Kate Nash wins a prize for providing this reviewer with the longest gig they have ever been to, with the possible exception of one Brian Jonestown Massacre show. Coming in at a whopping hour and a half [and that was before the encore] no-one at this 14+ gig could complain that they didn't get their money's worth. Every hit was played, every fan favourite and your own secret favourite song, the one you think no-one else would like, not even Kate.
We seem to have caught Kate at a curious songwriting crossroads. Opening the gig clad in a silver jumpsuit that would not look out of place on Marc Bolan, she takes to centre stage with a guitar and proceeds to scream her way through 'I Just Love You More', a track that's symptomatic of her new album ï¿½My Best Friend Is You'. Driven by guitar, a heavy bass line and haunting Sonic-Youth-esque yearning vocals, with the occasional riot grrl shout, it all seems a bit impersonal, especially to those who are used to seeing Kate lodged firmly behind a piano singing quirky lyrics about falling over and being embarrassed. As the set continues in this manner with 'Kiss That Grrrl' it begins to reach the audience a little more with evidence that she hasn't completely changed.
The audience is eased into the new album with every third or fourth song being from her first album and which, presumably, the majority of the audience are more comfortable with judging from the voices singing along. Oddly, she seems to dance more on her piano stool than she does while standing but that might be because the piano-based songs are more theatrical, and call for the overacting and Emphasising. Each. Word. That she is so known for.
Songs that would tongue-twist more accomplished singers flow from her effortlessly with barely any time needed to breathe and you can sense a genuine enjoyment from her when she switches ranges and octaves, pulling faces and putting on funny voices to let you know that she knows exactly what she's doing on the changes, and that it's jolly good fun.
At the end of the day she's basically being a petulant, shrill, demonic child, but that's exactly what she wants to be.