Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea @ Bowery Ballroom, 2/9/11

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“I wish I could wake up to that every day,” singer Nicole Atkins joked with the crowd Wednesday evening at Bowery Ballroom after receiving an enthusiastic applause following her first few songs.  “I’m just going to tape you guys and set it to my alarm clock.”

Atkins’ show on the Lower East Side, which kicked off a six-week tour, showcased this singer’s amazing vocal talent, doing her great justice.  With some help from an expanded version of her backing band, The Black Sea, consisting of cello, violin, drums, multiple guitars, bass, keys and back-up singers, Atkins led the eclectic, yet tight-sounding group of musicians for a nearly hour-and-a-half-long set.  Decked out in a black cowboy hat and festively embroidered dress shirt, a friend, whom Atkins calls “Senior” sat perched at the edge of the stage, drinking “cheap wine” and crowd-watching, clearly just happy to be there.

Playing mostly songs from her new album, Mondo Amore, Atkins proved just how ridiculously talented of a singer she really is.  On stage, she is strong and powerful in belting out those perfectly-tuned notes (the girl couldn’t hit a flat note if she tried), yet she is also incredibly graceful, in movement and song.  Her lyrics and vocals are emotional, bleeding, and always seem to have a bit of an underlying sexuality to them.

Stand-outs from the evening included “Heavy Boots,” which kicked off the show, “Cry Cry Cry,” an infectiously catchy new tune, as well as the closer, “Neptune City,” for which she sat curled up at the edge of the stage, crooning the lyrics about her hometown in New Jersey.  But one of the most fun songs of the evening had to be “Maybe Tonight,” which really got the crowd dancing and having a good time.

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