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- Posted on Feb 16th 2011 2:00PM by Nicole Atkins
Nicole Atkins is currently on tour in support of her sophomore album, 'Mondo Amore,' backed by a collective of musicians known as the Black Sea. Four years after the release of her debut record, 'Neptune City,' the 32-year-old singer-songwriter is back to showcase her unique blend of rootsy-folk and indie rock, exemplified by her latest single, 'Vultures.'
Atkins' winter tour kicked off on Feb. 9 with a sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom in New York City, and the New Jersey native could hardly contain her excitement. Here, she recaps the memorable day, which included a glowing article in the New York Times, a quasi-calming yoga session and enough musicians to create a "Polyphonic Spree"-like show. Check out Atkins' first Road Report, as well as photos from her NYC concert, after the jump.
I'm writing this from the back of the van. Last night our lovely sound couple, Evan and Teresa, joined us on tour in Seattle. I'm hoping that I dont get brained by a falling cymbal case or box of vinyls. It is jaaaaammed in here, but we are having lots of fun already. Since we've been on the West Coast we've been chasing a lovely rain storm city by city, day by day. Makes me think of the movie from the '90s, 'Singles.'
The first show of the Mondo Amore tour was in NYC at the Bowery Ballroom, where I had my first big show four years ago opening up for the National. It was an exciting day. I woke up and bought the New York Times. There was an article on my "survivor" skills in the Arts section. It was a damn good article, and I was pretty stoked that my buddy Seth Avett likened me to "The Fonz" from 'Happy Days.' Some friends from Charlotte were in town, and we tried to do some yoga to calm down because I was AAAMPED. So excited for the show that my heart was beating a mile a minute; I could've kicked though a wall.
Anyways, got to soundcheck, we had not only the Black Sea but were also joined by Dan "Cashmere" Chen on keys, Gillian Rivers and Lauren on strings, Timmy Mislock, Mollie King and Leah Fishman on bakcup vocals, and Jon Hull on harmonica. Oh yeah, and Bongo Noah on percussion. There were so many people up there, we were verging on Polyphonic Spree territory, and I was worried it would be a mess. But you know what, it wasnt. It sounded huge and great! If I could tour with a band that big, I would die a very happy lady.
The show was sold out and there was a lot of love on stage. I totally biffed the words to Fleetwood Mac's 'Oh Well,' but, oh well. Had so much fun on stage I barely remember any of it. Had some drinks, had some sleep, in the morning had some blueberry pancakes, and threw a bunch of socks and party dresses into my suitcase and headed to the airport. First stop, Portland. I must say that the Irish steward on our Jetblue flight was the funniest guy ever. Over the loudspeaker, he announced that our in-flight movie on channel one would be 'Leprachaun,' and on channel 2 it would be, wouldnt you know, 'Leprachaun 2,' and on channel 3 "well, you catch the drift right?" And gullible me got really stoked because I thought, "Yes, Leprachaun!"
Our first show was in Vancouver at the Media Club. A small joint, but it had great sound on stage. In Vancouver, we met up with Irina's friend, George, who works for John Fluevog. He brought us to the store where we met John (who I must say is very dapper) and actually got to pick out a pair of shoes. Total swag boner! I got a pair of boots that look like what it would look like if Keith Richards and Peter Pan had a baby. The show was packed, and Cotton Jones, who opened, killed it. The crowd was super fun and a lot of people actually knew the words to the new songs, which was suprising and pleasing. We met up with Shane Nelken who toured in my band and in AC Newman's band and went with his charming girlfriend Lana to a little diner for some poutine. First time having poutine and I dunno, I'll take boardwalk cheesefries over it any day.