On a cool night in November, I stood amongst a crowd dominated by women and die hard fans, eagerly waiting to see Kate Nash. All eyes were staring expectantly at the red curtain at Trees in Dallas. Kate Nash has been touring promoting her third album, Girl Talk, and finally made a stop in Dallas for the first time.
Kate Nash at Trees in Dallas
While the audience was still filling in, Skating Polly started the night with their own version of riot grrrl. The duo is made up of two step-sisters, Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse. They both took turns playing a tangerine drum kit while the other played guitar and sang. The purple lights turned Mayo’s blond hair lavender while she sang, as Bighorse pounded the drums. Halfway through their set, Mayo sat down at the drum kit and Bighorse picked up her guitar. They are enviably young, but have a great energy, especially on the songs “Carrots” and “When We Were Young.” Skating Polly are definitely a band to keep an eye on as they grow.
The next band to take the stage was La Sera, led by Katy Goodman, formerly of Vivian Girls. You could not ask for a better lead than Goodman for an L.A. band; she plays bass and delivers brilliant vocals, all with long sandy hair and gazelle-like legs. La Sera’s sound is also perfectly California, and just the thing for rambling down a beach or driving with the windows down. The crowd particularly liked, “Please Be My Third Eye,” “Break My Heart,” and “Hour of the Dawn.”
Between the sets by La Sera and Kate Nash, the crowd was getting noticeably restless. The wise house DJ played Bohemian Rhapsody, which turned into an impromptu family sing-a-long with most of the crowd happily belting out the classic song.
Before Nash went on stage, a video projected on the back wall of Kate lip syncing to Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” set the mood. It just happens to be a great intro for her own music, which is often about fighting the expectations of others. Nash took the stage in a red dress to the cheering of the patient crowd. The first few chords of “Mariella” were met with gasping delight. She also performed favorites, “Foundations” and “Mouthwash” from her first album, Made of Bricks.
Kate Nash is charismatic on stage. As wonderful as her albums are, they can’t fully capture what she is like in person. She seems like a girl you would want to be your best friend. Nash talked to the audience and interacted with fans a lot during her set. She sang “Happy Birthday” for one very lucky fan, and also talked about issues close to her heart, including getting kicked off her record label. She thanked fans for their part in allowing her to keep making music and touring. Nash was so touched by the response from the crowd that she promised to come back to Texas the next time she tours the U.S.
She also discussed the importance of women having a place in rock music, and not being too intimidated by guys or submitting to the cookie cutter mold often forced on women in music (or in general). Freedom of expression is clearly important to Nash, and it’s how she came to write “Free My Pussy” after Pussy Riot was put in prison. She writes her lyrics with earnest abandon. Nash is distinct and loved because she talks and writes about things that are often considered controversial, as on “Rap For Rejection,” where she talks about sexism.
Kate Nash played, “Sister,” “Death Proof,” “Part Heart,” “Are You There Sweetheart?,” and “OMYGOD!” from Girl Talk. All were met with great appreciation from the audience. She also played “Fri-End?,” dedicating it to those “frenemies” everyone has. She said, “My suggestion is you just ‘fuck off’ those friends.”
During an interlude Kate Nash’s band jammed to seven nation army adding a nod toJimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” and ending with “Shave and a Haircut.” Her band or “my mother fucking girl gang,” as she said clearly loves playing with her, as do both her opening acts Skating Polly and La Sera.
During Nash’s last song Skating Polly, La Sera, and members of the audience all came on stage. Kate Nash crowd surfed while her band kept playing and everyone danced jubilantly. It was a reminder that a really good show doesn’t need pyrotechnics to blow everyone away, all it takes is for the performers to really love what they are doing and put everything they have into the show.
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Article by Kate McCrory