Nicole Atkins created a space for us to feel a sense of closeness and familiarity to her by bringing her friends along on her tour on Tuesday, December 5th.
Opener multi-instrumentalist Thayer Sarrano delivered songs with styles of dark and dreamy. While she played solo for most of her set, she was later joined by the bassist from Nicole Atkins’ band, backing her up in vocals and keys.
Thayer was followed by Lauren Ruth Ward, an entertaining performer who played great music to dance along to, as she expressed herself through her awareness of her audience and body.
Nicole then took the stage, and from the very beginning, Nicole had a demeanor of comfort and gratitude, and she expressed this by letting us know and thanking us for being present. Her last visit to San Diego was a “… show at Soda Bar [where] there were only 5 people.”
With very jazzy vocals and a nostalgic feel of 50’s crooner tunes, Nicole brought a mixture of genres into play including prominent hints of alternative rock and soul. Before starting “Sleepwalking,” she shared a story of how it had been recently reviewed and featured in Rolling Stone magazine with an incorrect lyric, reading “I’m still horny“ instead of “I’m still haunted.” As we all laughed the New Jersey native reassured us she’d do her best to dictate her words better for us to understand.
The takeaway from the evening was the intense sense of camaraderie between the openers and the instrumentalists. Halfway through Nicole’s set, she introduced her bassist Owen who had also accompanied opener Thayer Sarrano on keys, and after briefly explaining how excited she was that he and his band were releasing a new song, she encouraged us to listen to him and handed over the stage to him. He ended the night by played an original called “Rock n’ Roll” with Nicole’s band.