REVIEW/INTERVIEW: Nicole Atkins Tour and Album Drop

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PHOTO: Kirk Stauffer, Creative Commons

The uniquely designed Nectar Lounge is located at “The Center of the Universe” in Seattle’s well-known Fremont District. With a design allowing for a combined indoor/outdoor experience for patrons, Nectar Lounge is a smaller club but can still let you rock out like you’re at the front row of a big arena.

Currently out on tour supporting her new album Slow Phaser, singer-songwriter-rocker Nicole Atkins blends grace, passion, and prowess into a soulful style that is uniquely beautiful. With a grateful smile on her face and glowing under the stage lights, Nicole and the band eased into a wonderful set of original selections from her previous albums Mondo Amore and Neptune City and worked into selections from Slow Phaser.

Nicole’s live performance is not one to be missed – she is as much an artist as she is an entertainer. With a commanding and energetic stage presence from a tight rhythm and lead section and great support on synth from opening band Arc Iris’ pianist, Nicole Atkins and band give a sensational performance that will leave you with a big smile on you face as you walk out of the show with her entire catalogue in your arms.

After the Nectar Lounge set, I had an opportunity to hang out with Nicole and the band and chat a bit about Slow Phaser and what’s happening with the tour.

Tyler J. Markwart: There was a bit of space between Slow Phaser and Mondo Amore…Was the creativity just building and building?

Nicole Atkins: No it was just lulling, lulling and lulling for a long time. I went to London and I met Jim Sclavunos who is the drummer from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and we started writing together. That started to get going and I started to write on my own and things just got going. Everyone said Mondo Amore was dark but Slow Phaser is dark too – it just has a disco beat.

TJM: The tour is starting off and you’re heading all over the US. How’s that going?

Slow-PhaserNicole: We just survived two weeks of the worst snow in America –  seriously, we almost died today! It will be hilarious in two days, but I felt like we kind of brought that energy to the show like oh my god, we’re happy to be alive.

TJM: I bet! Where do you finish the tour? Any South American tour dates?

Nicole: We end the tour in Philly and then we do a couple one offs in April and then we go to England in May. We know that Brazil MTV is going to premier the video next Thursday, which is really exciting! And were going to be touring with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds!

TJM: Well, that’s probably the coolest thing I’ve heard today!

Nicole: It’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me! Jim Sclavunos had a hand in making it happen, and I’m very grateful for that.

TJM: What’s next for you on this tour?

Nicole: I just want to play this album for anyone who wants to hear it. Were headed down to Portland, LA, San Diego and Santa Fe, Memphis and Nashville. I actually started writing the record in Memphis, I lived there for almost a year and now were just really excited to play for everyone we can.

TJM: Anything else you want to let the world know?

Nicole: I just want to let the world know it’s a rock show, it’s not a singer-song writer show, it’s a rock band doing a rock show. The name of the band changed and a few members have also but were a rock show.

Check out Nicole Atkins’ new album Slow Phaser available through her website. While you’re there, grab her entire catalogue on vinyl; it will make you cooler than you currently are.

As an added note, the eccentrically awesome opening band Arc Iris, added an energetic mix of visual and sonic entertainment. With an Alice-in-Wonderland-influenced Jazz style and a wardrobe that Ziggy Stardust would have envied, Arc Iris created some ear-tickling goodness that left my musical palette feeling refreshed. Lead singer Jocie Adams delivered an awesome array of vocals, guitar, keys and at one point an oboe-led solo into a New Orleans style jam that had the crowd bobbing away. Backed by a cellist, a drummer and another synth player Arc Iris is not your normal band, and that is a good thing. Look for their new album being released online this April.