It’s no secret that female representation in punk music is severely lacking these days. With more and more all-male bands continuing to dominate the genre, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to identify female-led bands that exemplify the same power & angst on which their male counterparts thrive. While of course there are still plenty of incredibly talented and powerful female voices in the genre, the paying public continues to paint female artists in a picture of heartbroken indie girl sadness, swooning over a guitar in a local coffee shop.
Kate Nash takes issue with this and has since her 2007 debut Made of Bricks. While today she has many irons in the fire, including her portrayal of the model-turned-wrestler Rhonda Richardson on Netflix’s hit TV show Glow, she still finds time to get back to her roots. Earlier this year she released her first album in over five years, the Kickstarter-funded Yesterday Was Forever.
Once chained to industry standards and record label expectations stemming from her debut, Kate is now a free woman and has never been more unafraid or uncensored. Her new album touches on all the struggles she has faced over the last decade and is shockingly transparent, which makes her a favorite among young women both inside and outside of the industry.
Kate’s discography was essentially new to me when I stepped inside the doors of Fine Line Music Cafe on Thursday night. While, of course, I knew of Kate Nash beforehand and was aware of her journey in the industry, as some of you know, when possible, I like to experience artists’ music for the first time in a live setting, so that’s exactly what I did. I went in with a hopeful attitude and a clear mind unburdened by expectations. What I got was nothing short of a delight.
Before Kate took her spot at center stage, her female bandmates stepped in front of us and promptly began a prelude full of shredding and hard rock riffs. It was immediately apparent that this was not going to be a low-key, singer-songwriter showing, which her latest album leaned towards. We were going to get the lead out.
Kate jumped on stage, headbanging and jumping around with her band-mates, amping up the crowd and high-fiving fans. However, the mood quickly shifted as the band faded out and she took her place behind a piano and played a few notes. What she played was a minute-long teaser of her hit song “Foundations” much to the crowd’s continued enjoyment. After she finished, several screams of “I love you!!” were aimed towards the stage, with Kate throwing them right back with “I love YOU!!”
Over the next hour and a half, we were treated to both hits and deep cuts alike, drawn from any one of her five studio albums. Her more punk-inspired songs were hard-hitting, and somehow the slow songs, which often featured only her and a single piano on her album, hit even harder as her piercing screams of angst echoed throughout the room.
A highlight for me was the song “Dickhead,” where she proudly exclaims “Why are you being a dickhead for, stop being a dickhead. Why are you being a dickhead for, you’re just fucking up situations” about fifteen times, each time escalating the crowd until everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs.
Before exiting the stage for a quick breather to prepare for an encore, Kate addressed the crowd one more time, proclaiming her love for the city and everyone inside of it for allowing her to follow her dreams for over a decade now.
Stepping back out on stage for a two-song encore, the band began plucking along to the tune of “Today,” off her latest album. The crowd sang along, and as the song ended the band jumped right into a deeper cut from her debut album, “Birds.” Both songs were a hit among the crowd and offered quite a charming end to the night.
After the show ended and the crowds began to spill onto the streets of Downtown Minneapolis, it became clear to me that while female punk may still be struggling, the well-being of the genre is in good hands.