Kate Nash’s debut album, Made of Bricks, was definitely one of the big albums of my formative years, having been released when I was the tender yet crucial age of 15.
Almost three years later, her second album, My Best Friend is You, was released just a few months after I passed my driving test and I remember driving round listening to Paris and Do-Wah-Doo in the sun.
But of course it’s Foundations, and the more twee Mouthwash and Birds, that captivated me first. We Get On was great teenage crush fodder, and every single song on that album had something to connect to.
So when Kate announced a 10th anniversary tour for Made of Bricks this summer, playing the whole album, I just had to go – even though I’d seen her during a more shouty phase in York in 2013 and hadn’t been quite so enamoured. (I still thought she was awesome and girl power-y though).
O2 Shepherds Bush Empire was sold out on Thursday August 10 (Kate played there the night before as well) and anticipation was high. There were loads of women in their 20s, like me, but a wide range of other demographics too.
After a strange mixture of song choices (Lily Allen and The Ting Tings were almost too obvious, but Akon’s Smack That took a different tone), Kate’s all-female band took to the stage.
The first two songs felt almost totally Kate-less though, and it was an odd start to the show. The band played Made of Bricks opener Play, with Kate’s album vocals on over the top.
Then they segued into Foundations, during which Kate came out in an amazingly huge princess-style dress. She only sang the first verse and chorus though, before disappearing for the rest of the song, while the band kept playing the music without vocals. In one sense it worked effectively as a tease for later, when Foundations would be played properly in full, but equally it felt like a lacklustre start to the show.
After that, at least, Kate was on fire for the rest of Made of Bricks. She strutted around the stage, absolutely owning it, with a top notch band behind her. She looked awesome in a two-piece bodysuit and sang every song with so much feeling – from sarcastic anger in Dickhead to tender young love in Birds. I wouldn’t criticise any of the Made of Bricks songs – they were exactly what I was hoping for.
Just before the Foundations reprise, however, Kate went on a bit of a political rant which eventually turned into the summer’s much-overdone ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ chant. I’m not a fan of musicians digressing into long, political rants – just the odd statement of love and peace is fine though, of course – and this derailed things slightly for me.
Kate played four non-Made of Bricks songs as an encore. The crowd seemed to appreciate these songs less, but that’s understandable since this music was suddenly of a very different genre – a bit more punky – and not everyone at the Made of Bricks nostalgiafest would have followed Kate’s every career move over the past 10 years.
I really enjoyed Agenda, with cries of “I don’t give a f*** about your agenda,” but the other three songs felt less like they were connecting with the crowd. Returning to the tender Merry Happy for the final song was beautiful though.
Tastes change and careers change massively over the course of 10 years. Kate’s not exactly the same, but in many ways she’s grown for the better – she’s a woman to be admired and celebrated for her earnest sharings which came from her own experiences. “Be your own nicest thing,” referencing her own heartbreaking song, touched a particular chord with the crowd.
Reliving Made of Bricks was an amazing way for me, and hundreds of other twenty-somethings around me, to relive a more innocent but equally more confusing and strange time. It was wonderful nostalgia.
- Foundations (tease)
- We Get On
- Shit Song
- Pumpkin Soup
- Skeleton Song
- Nicest Thing
- Little Red
- California Poppies
- Musical Theatre
- Merry Happy