Where were you in 2007?
Kate Nash was 20-years-old, on the cusp of greatness, dancing in a tea-dress.
Facing near-constant comparisons to Lily Allen, because the media rarely finds a way to write about female artists that doesn’t involve pitting them against someone else, she persevered.
Her romantic encounters were described jovially, in the kind of detail usually reserved for teenage diaries. Yet, she maintained a vulnerability throughout – a sense that her act of ‘ripping the piss’ shielded much broader insecurities.
It’s why her album ‘Made Of Bricks’, celebrating its tenth birthday this year, proved so formative for so many teenagers in 2007. Now, all attending the anniversary show in Dublin as wistful 20-somethings, they look to Nash with reverence.
In a lot of ways, nothing has changed. It’s a typically noughties indie-pop set-up on stage – faux cherry blossom trees and massive cloud installations, all very whimsical. She’s just as energetic and invested at 30-years-old, throbbing along to Mouthwash.
She’s almost overruled on Dickhead by the zealously singing audience. Despite what some would consider juvenile lyrics, much of the sentiment is the same, regardless of age.
Birds remains gorgeously inarticulate, effortlessly capturing the essence of what it means to be young, in love and immature. It’s a wonder no one’s thought to write a ‘Made Of Bricks’ musical, as that’s how it almost entirely plays out.
She forgets the words during Mariella, and her band let her down with backing vocals that are inaudible. But they’re minor slip-ups, played off by the fact that it is Kate Nash, after all – your bumbling, manic pixie dream girl.
Nicest Thing heralds in a moment of hush, before proceeding to crawl over her keyboard, and stamp on it accordingly. While this is the album that made her, it’s also the album that broke her, having been an independent artist ever since. Yet, every performance seems to offer as much fond retrospection for Nash as it does for the crowd.
Little Red is the highlight of the night – a beautifully subtle, nursery rhyme-esque frolic through the landscape of her youth; another snapshot of what’s been like to be Kate Nash.
Had she finished with Foundations, she would have succeeded in delivering a perfect set. But alas, Nash still has records to sell and money to make. An encore of new songs delivers a complete 180 – Agenda is frantic, aggressive K-pop, with Nash’s signature snarky undercurrent remaining in tact. My Little Alien is dedicated to her dog, and while it’s cute, it’s clear she’s lost most of the audience by that point.
‘Made Of Bricks’ represents every torn page from every MySpace-era teenage girl’s diary. It’s crushingly self-conscious, awkward and unsure. Lyrically, it’s dated in parts, and undoubtedly there are stories and memories that Nash has outgrown and let go. But it’s an endearing and emotive watch, reliving it all again with the person that originally brought the story to life.