PACIFIC chats with the local outfit, set to play The Casbah on Nov. 9
If you aren’t very familiar with Kate Bush, you’re not alone. Until a few years ago, neither was Natasha Kozaily, the fearless leader of America’s one-and-only Kate Bush cover band, Baby Bushka.
Kozaily, a San Diego-based musician, learned about the English singer-songwriter after a fan mentioned she had “this Kate Bush vibe going on.” That comment led her down a late-night, Kate Bush wormhole. She became obsessed with the U.K. music icon, who is known for her self-written catalog of eclectic and experimental songs.
“(Kate Bush) had this strong vision and she never let it go,” Kozaily said. “I feel like she was always in control of what she wanted to put out there, no matter how weird or different it was.”
(Though we don’t have space to list all of Bush’s accolades, we highly recommend going down a similar wormhole to discover timeless tracks like Babooshka and Running up that Hill.)
Kozaily decided she wanted to perform some of Bush’s songs. After realizing the music legend’s catalog was too complex to take on alone, she enlisted the help of seven other women on the local music scene.
Under Kozaily’s direction, Kate Bush Night debuted at The Casbah in December 2017. With four-part harmonies, avant-garde choreography and brightly colored jumpsuits, the evening was like a dreamy and empowering music video.
The show was intended to be a one-time-thing, but it became clear the women had crafted an experience that had to be continued beyond that night. From there, Baby Bushka was born.
There are eight women are in the band, and each has her own “Bush name.” The full Bush family is Nancy Ross (Fancy Bush) on vocals; Shelbi Bennett (Buffalo Bush) on guitar, synth and percussion; Natasha Kozaily (Boss Bush) as the lead vocalist; Leah Bowden (Heavy Bush) on drums; Batya MacAdam-Somer (Bad Bush) on violin; Dani Bell (Mighty Bush) on bass; Nina Deering (Dark Bush) on keys; and Lexi Pulido (Hella Bush) on vocals.
Now the cover band performs every three to six months at its “home venue,” The Casbah, and tours along the West Coast and in the U.K. Recently, Baby Bushka made an album of covers (release date TBA) with a vintage spin — all of the tracks were recorded analog, the way many of Bush’s albums were made.
Healthy obsession: Though most of these women jumped on board not knowing who the Wuthering Heights songstress was, they quickly became mega-fans. From Bush’s novel-esque lyrics to her independent spirit, each band member latched on to something different. “I think that as we continued to learn (about her), everyone started to fall in love with Kate Bush for their own reasons,” Kozaily said.
All in the spotlight: Boss Bush (Kozaily) is the lead vocalist, but the leader also casts songs for the band members. Sharing the vocals lets each woman shine, as well as showcasing the material’s diversity and depth. “I didn’t necessarily feel I was the right vocalist for all the songs. But with eight women you have all these choices!” Kozaily said.
Mystery woman: Baby Bushka unintentionally fills a void for many Kate Bush fans, as the U.K. singer-songwriter is famous for her lack of live shows. And this void is everywhere, including at a London bar where Del Palmer — Bush’s ex-bass player and ex-partner — was in the audience for the band’s first U.K. show.
Sticking to the stage: Luckily, Baby Bushka has no plans to pull a Kate Bush and halt live shows anytime soon. After The Casbah on Nov. 9, Baby Bushka heads north for two more California shows: Los Angeles (Nov. 10) and San Francisco (Nov. 12).
For more on Baby Bushka, visit ilovebabybushka.com.
Kate Bush Night with Baby Bushka
When: 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9
Where: The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd.
Tickets: $15 online here, $20 at the door