Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Concert Review: Nikka Costa

Nikka Costa: October 20, 2008 @ Webster Hall, New York, NY

I went over to see fiery haired, funky mama Nikka Costa perform at Webster Hall. Nikka played upstairs and drinks over there were between nine and eighteen dollars ... they did have five dollar beers though. Anyway, if you'd never seen Nikka live, then you just might not be fully prepared for what you were about to get.

The evening started off with Nikka's guitar player,
John Black entertaining the crowd with a few acoustic numbers. Both his voice and playing were strong. A nice start to the evening. Up next was Pictures and Sound, the band fronted by former Blue Merle frontman Luke Reynolds. They were a good band but I just couldn't get into them. I would have preferred something a little more funked up to get me ready for Nikka.

As the crew prepared the stage for Nikka's arrival, you could feel the excitement in the air. She has a very dedicated and enthusiastic following and the New York delegates were out in full force to represent. Nikka took the stage clad in bell bottoms, a bikini top and fringed vest kicking things off with the high-spirited "Keep Wanting More" from her new album Pebble To A Pearl. The lady made clear with this funky number that she came to bring it and that's exactly what she proceeded to do. She very quickly got the audience involved and we were more than happy to oblige her. It was clear from the start that she was in fine voice. She launched into the song that introduced me to her talents, "Like A Feather," which had her shakin' her thang all over the stage. Now, if you were there and weren't singing, dancing and clapping along by this point, something's wrong with you!

I was happy to hear Nikka's brilliant funked up cover of The White Stripes "The Denial Twist" live. She donned her acoustic guitar for a stunning rendition of "Push And Pull," that had the audience helping her sing the chorus.

In a testament to both Nikka and her fans ... Nikka's ability to engage her fans and her fans devotion to her ... it was no surprise when she played four songs in a row from her new album (that only came out a week prior) and there wasn't one lull moment. Everyone knew the new songs and were happily singing and dancing along.

By the time the set reached "Happy In The Morning" which turned into an exquisite jam, the party was in full swing. It was followed by high-charged renditions of "Everybody Got Their Something" and "Can't Please Everybody." The latter song was a particularly fun foot stompin', hand clappin' romp that left me a happy, sweaty mess. After a short break, Nikka returned for her encore, "Love To Love You Less." It was the perfect ending for the show. This blues tinged number is reminiscent of old school, end of party, last dance songs ... how very fitting.

Nikka put on a fun-filled show. You really couldn't have asked for a better show, though I would have loved to have heard, "Damn I Said It First" live. She was backed by a tight stellar band that included horns. They were a bad ass bunch. The show certainly didn't lack in audience participation. Between the funky rhythms and the crowd dancing, I could feel the floor moving and that folks, is a good show. Little Miss Dynamite threw her funk out and tore up New York City. She sang. She danced. She played guitar. She played drums. She put her all into it and the crowd, we loved her for it.

Set List:
  • Keep Wanting More
  • Like A Feather
  • Can'tneverdidnothin'
  • Denial Twist
  • Push And Pull
  • Cry Baby
  • Keep Pushin'
  • Stuck To You
  • Loving You
  • Happy In The Morning
  • Everybody Got Their Something
  • Can't Please Everybody
  • Love To Love You Less
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(all photos ©L.R. Adams)