By John Curley
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is one of the legendary music venues in the UK because it was where Oasis were discovered by Alan McGee and set on their path to Britpop stardom. I’ve wanted to see a show there for years, and I finally got my chance on Friday, October 17th when I was in Glasgow to visit friends and went with two of them to see the show at King Tut’s by the New Jersey-based singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins.
It was interesting to see Atkins perform in the UK since she was working with a different band than she had been for her shows earlier in the year in the United States. On her European tour, Atkins performed with guitarist Davey Horne and drummer Mike Geist. To augment the band’s sound, Atkins sometimes used a microphone that was connected to effects pedals during the show. This gave her already-powerful voice even more strength. The raw power of Atkins’ vocals in Glasgow was thrilling.
Atkins was touring Europe in her support of her latest album, Slow Phaser. But her Glasgow show was a terrific hodgepodge of old and new songs (some yet to be recorded) and cover versions.
Atkins, always an engaging performer, opened the show by standing in the middle of the crowd and playing an acoustic, unplugged solo version of “Neptune City.” This got a big reaction from the crowd , and it set the tone for the rest of the show. The excitement and enthusiasm in the crowd never seemed to diminish throughout Atkins’ 80-minute set. Atkins spoke to the crowd quite a bit, and often gave answers to the comments that audience members were shouting during the show.
Atkins, Horne, and Geist work very well together, and seemed to push each other to greater heights as the show went on. Horne and Geist joined Atkins onstage for the second song, “Maybe Tonight,” which is a showcase for Atkins’ soaring vocals. That was a highlight of the show, as were the performances of “Vultures,” “Who Killed The Moonlight,” “The Way It Is,” “Red Ropes,” and “The Tower.” Atkins’ cover of Lee Hazlewood’s “My Autumn’s Done Come” was positively stunning. Atkins performed two new, unrecorded songs in Glasgow: “Gold Was My Baby” (which Atkins co-wrote with Jim Sklavounous from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) and “As Country Was.” Prior to performing “As Country Was,” Atkins said that the song is a tribute to her country-music heroes, such as Johnny Cash. She went on to say that it is also a “f--- you to Taylor Swift,” a comment that drew considerable cheers from the crowd.
Atkins closed her performance with an encore of “Crying” by Roy Orbison, an artist to whom she is often compared. Atkins ended the show as she had begun it, performing the song solo, acoustic, and unplugged. And it was amazing.
The set list was:
Neptune City (solo, acoustic, and unplugged)
The Worst Hangover
As Country Was
My Autumn’s Done Come (cover of Lee Hazlewood song)
Who Killed The Moonlight
The Way It Is
Gold Was My Baby
It’s Only Chemistry
Crying (solo, acoustic, unplugged cover of Roy Orbison song)