What was supposed to be UK sensation Kate Nash's American debut almost wasn't, thanks to our Department of Immigration who denied her a work Visa. But nobody said she couldn't play for free.
So the Luna Lounge show was like a show where everyone was on the guest list, and no one was turned away. And though my dad says "you get what you pay for," in this case it was one of the year's better bargain.
Nash is a charmer, mainly through her matter-of-fact, funny lyrics and blunt delivery and Made of Bricks is one of 2007's better debuts. And she's a talented musician too, though I preferred her on guitar -- at the piano it was a little too Tori Amos / Vanessa Carlton (there I said it) for my taste. She had a crack band (drummer, violinist, bassist/guitarist), making things all the better, but Nash would've held the crowd by her lonesome. I have a feeling she'll go over even better in the cabaret atmosphere of Joe's Pub.
MP3: Kate Nash - We Get On (buy it)
Opening was Jenny Owen Youngs, who, armed only with her acoustic guitar and razor-sharp wit, wasn't quite right for the chatty crowd. But she never gave up. And though this sort of thing isn't my sort of thing, she was just great, absolutely hilarious between-song banter. (I had no idea who she was beforehand, let alone that she was on Nettwerk, certainly the only label who can do something with this style that seems to have little outlet anymore.) They were good songs too, belying the smarts of someone this clever, making me curious to what sort of treatment the get on record. Most didn't hear a note until she covered Nelly's "Hot in Here" which she performed with aplomb but it felt five years too late. She's better than that.
More pictures at my Flickr page. Also in Attendance: Product Shop NYC, Music Snobbery, and Trouser Press editor Ira Robbins who took my post about my downstairs neighbor's use of his book in good humor.