Hot off the back of her recent appearance at SXSW festival, Nashville based singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins arrives in the North East of England for an intimate and somewhat up close and personal evening of song.

With only a few days into her current UK tour, it’s fair to say that things haven’t been easy so far for Nicole Atkins on this run. Having encountered transport woes, due to the band’s van breaking down en route from Scotland, and a rather unexpected, untimely and expensive replacement of said vehicle, not all aspects of the tour have gone to plan thus far. However, there is no stopping Nicole Atkins, and with her optimistic outlook along with the support of her uber-talented bandmates, collectively they will overcome any obstacle thrown in their way.

Tonight’s show takes place within the cosy confines of The Cluny 2 in Newcastle – one of the city’s favourite watering holes in the heart of the Ouseburn Valley. With its dark and somewhat moody lighting, there is a real ambience about the room, almost reminiscent of an inner city Jazz club.

Nicole Atkins is currently touring in support of her 2017 album Goodnight Rhonda Lee. Despite this, Atkins has far from been resting on her laurels since the release of the aforementioned record, having been working on projects with a whole raft of her esteemed colleagues, friends and collaborators including Mark Lanegan and Jim Sclavunos from the Bad Seeds. Each of these creative outlets allowing Atkins to showcase a different side of her artistry. With all of her different musical avenues, Atkins eclectic sound is best described as genre-defying.

Appearing from the rear of the venue, Nicole makes her way through the audience, to the centre of the room, as the crowd congregate around her as she opens the proceedings with a beautiful, stripped back rendition of the title track of her 2007 debut solo album “Neptune City”. The attendees so quiet, and attentive, you could hear a pin drop in the room.

As Nicole joins the rest of her four-piece band onstage, she continues with a further track from her debut record with the incredibly infectious “Maybe Tonight”. The latter of which, much like many of her songs, has a real timeless quality about it. It goes without saying that Nicole Atkins refuses to buckle to current commercial trends, but instead makes music that makes both the artist and her listeners happy, and by doing so her music has a real authentic quality about it, which is so rare in this day and age.

Atkins recently finished recording a new studio album at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama. Although the record, which is titled Forever, is presently tipped for a 2020 release, the New Jersey originating chanteuse is excited to preview a couple of her freshest cuts tonight. This includes both the aptly titled (giving the current transport situation) “Never Going Home” along with the deeply sensitive “Captain For Once”. On the strength of these tracks alone, Atkins forthcoming release is set to be one to watch out for when it drops next year.

In the latter stages of the show, various members of Nicole’s band take the spotlight. This includes a harmonious duet with guitarist Davey Horner on his track “Sentimental Horse In The Rain” along with a mesmerising performance of cellist and opening act Caleb Elliott’s “Are You Ready”. A bright future certainly awaits Elliott.

Throughout this evening’s performance, there are many highlights from Atkins current record Goodnight Rhonda Lee. This includes the rather funky and soulful “Sleepwalking” and “Listen Up” along with the beautiful slice of Americana that is “A Little Crazy”. The latter of which was co-written alongside the legendary Chris Isaak. Each of these tracks showcases Atkins simply mesmerising voice, whilst simultaneously proving that whichever musical style she turns her hand to Nicole can do them all and do them well.

Atkins brings her main set to a close with her passionate take on Patti Smith’s “Pissing In The River” during which she meanders her way through the crowd whilst singing to her fans. A show-stopping acapella encore of Eva Cassidy’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” brings an incredible evening of music to a close.

This evening Nicole Atkins not only showcases her vast musical pallet and unrivalled talents but also rather unselfishly those of her bandmates. It may only be April, but tonight’s show from Nicole Atkins will be hard to beat in 2019.


Nicole Atkins
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Event Date: 07-April-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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