Concert Review: Nicole Atkins, February 18, Horseshoe Tavern

Nicole Atkins

First things first about New Jersey native, Nicole Atkins – she may often be labeled as simply a singer/songwriter, but she’s much more than the typical prototype of this description. She is a goddamn performer. Hearing her powerful voice alone ought to be enough to convince anyone of her scope of talent.

On a Tuesday night at the Horseshoe, Atkins and her four-piece backing band rocked through a setlist that mostly touted songs from her latest record, Slow Phaser. The album showcases a funkier, 70’s-influenced sound than her previous two full-lengths – a sound that translates wonderfully well in a live setting. I would go out on a limb and say that the live versions are far superior than that of their studio counterparts. The first thing I noticed about the new songs performed live? They have some seriously danceable basslines. And who doesn’t love a good bassline?

The band opened with “Vultures,” a darker, broody tune from Atkins’ second album, Mondo Amore. Afterwards, it was time to dance, or at least some heavy toe-tapping from the lesser inclined. New songs “Who Killed the Moonlight,” “Cool People” (“dedicated to you guys!”) and “Girl, You Look Amazing” at least got Atkins herself dancing around the stage, looking like she was having great time, all the while knocking it out the park with her killer vocals.

In addition to her voice and funky dancing, Atkins also had an adorably sassy demeanor, which made her stage banter feel comfortable and natural. She invited anyone who liked vodka and sodas to come drink with her later (a fan presented her one right before performing “Sin Song”). Later, she graciously thanked the audience for coming out to the show, despite the “shitty weather.” “Three albums, three winters,” she lamented with a laugh, that they were calling this one the “Snow Phaser” tour. “One day I’ll make an album in the summer for my own sake. For your sake too. For all our sakes!”

Instead of leaving the stage and returning to do an encore, Atkins proposed they just stay after “It’s Only Chemistry” and do one extra song. The crowd cheered in agreement, and so the band launched into a rousing version of “The Tower,” from Mondo Amore. Still, afterwards, as they were leaving the stage, a guy in the audience yelled, “Encore!” Atkins laughed and said, “Dude, we just did it!” as she left the stage with her vodka and soda.


Posted on by Wini Lo in Concerts

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