Tribute bands tend to pay homage to long-gone acts, rather than still-extant groups who might compete for ticket sales, but British singer-songwriter Kate Bush performs so rarely that few are likely to have caught her in concert. Particularly in America, thanks to the UK superstar’s well-chronicled fear of flying, as well as the fact that her devotional cult following has shrunk in the states in the many years since the FM-driven days of underground hit albums like Hounds of Love. A U.S. concert probably wouldn’t inspire the sellout fervor of her 2014 London “comeback” performances (her first in over three decades).
More’s the pity, since Bush’s operatic brand of theatrical prog-pop is so well suited for stage presentations, something that’s not news to the members of local all-star ensemble Baby Bushka. The eight woman band includes Dani Bell (sans the Tarantist), Shelbi Bennett (the Midnight Pine), Natasha Kozaily (Gunakadeit), Nina Deering (Orchid Mantis), Batya MacAdam-Somer (Crooked), Leah Bowden (Tiger Milk Imports), Lexi Pulido, and Nancy Ross.
YouTube clips show a well-choreographed, imaginatively costumed group of obvious fans, staging an act that – while nowhere near as elaborate and epic as a Bush concert – manages to rise above the high school musical “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” limitations presented by both budget and venue size, and instead unfolds like a genuine stage production of well-seasoned performers. The harmonies, which tend to be understated when multitracked on Bush’s recordings, are far more of an angelic choir when sung live by multiple voices, nearly qualifying the vocals themselves as individual arrangements.
Their first Kate Bush Dance party at the Casbah in December 2017 was such a success that they parlayed the resulting press into a crowdfunded two week tour through the U.K. and Ireland.
Nina Deering, who also played with Orchid Mantis and Humankind, passed away in June 2020.