When I first saw Nikka Costa on the Chris Rock Show in November of 2000, she was a complete unknown to me, even though she has been performing since she was a little kid. With a range that goes from Janis Joplin to Chaka Khan, her fusion of funk, R&B and rock makes Nikka Costa an artist to watch.
Kemp Mill Records / 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 12/11/01
Sno-Core Icicle Ball – 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 3/23/02
It was double-duty for Nikka as she made an in-store appearance in the afternoon and performed later that night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. College students and people on their lunch break packed into Kemp Mill Records for Nikka’s 12:30pm in-store. Bridging the gap between musical genres, her appearance attracted both the local urban station and the local alternative station. The 30 minute set included stripped down versions of “Like A Feather,” “So Have I For You,” and “Everybody Got Their Something.” The 5’2″(?) songstress wanted to get a good look at everyone who came to check her out, so she performed her first song while kneeling on a chair. She didn’t sound uncomfortable during the song, but quickly mentioned afterwards that her knees had never hurt so much. She later eased her pain by using a box to give her some more height. Even though Nikka and the band had to tone things down a bit because of the area they were confined to, they sounded extremely tight…and it was only the beginning of what was to come later that night.
Having performed since she was a little kid, it’s evident Nikka felt right at home on stage at the 9:30 Club. Throughout the entire show Nikka interacted with the crowd as if we were all sitting with her in her living room. It was a give and take relationship in the true meaning of the phrase. From throwing a guitar pick into the crowd to taking a CD of a fan’s band, it was hard to tell where the stage ended and the audience started. The show couldn’t have been more intimate. Everyone showed their love for her and she gave it right back, even if it was tough love at times. If there wasn’t enough audience participation she let us know and if there was too much she let us know. A couple of guys at the front of the stage weren’t clapping and Nikka quickly called them on it. On the flip side, bidding the crowd goodbye Nikka sang a soulful song a capella. The crowd felt her so much that some people started clapping along, but Nikka quickly put an end to that. She admitted that ordinarily she would never ask an audience not to clap, but she needed to be in a zone when singing the song and politely asked us to “shut the f*** up” for a bit, which brought laughter out of everyone. Everyone obliged, giving her the total silence she needed to do her thing.
The artist/audience line was so thin that a body-surfing band member was mistaken for an over zealous fan and almost manhandled by a security guard. Nikka had to make security aware that they were grabbing her bass player from the stage. Being quite the diplomat she understood how something like that could happen and thanked security for the job they were doing.
Not only was the show one of the most intimate I’ve ever seen, it was also one of the most energetic I’ve ever seen. Where she keeps so much energy bottled up is a mystery. Accentuated by her signature low riding jeans, she was dancing, gyrating, shaking, bumping and grinding her heart out the entire show (taking the occasional break to slow things down a bit with “Push And Pull” and “Corners Of Your Mind.”) The energy you see in the “Like A Feather” video is the energy you see on stage, and the amazing voice you hear on the CD is the same voice you hear on stage, making you realize how talented she is. Her stage presence is so great, you can’t help but watch in awe. And even when you were able to take your eyes off of her, the band didn’t allow your eyes to rest either. Watching the sax player is a show all in itself. Reminiscent of James Brown, Nikka “gave the band some,” letting each band member jam solo.
Even though it was my first time seeing Nikka in concert, I can’t help but feel that her shows are like snowflakes…no two are alike. Although the set list may stay the same, each night Nikka steps on stage you’re in for something new. To see photos from her Kemp Mill Records appearance as well as her 3/23/02 show in Washington, D.C. as part of the Sno Core Icicle Ball, visit the Photo Page.
Below are just a few pictures of Nikka Costa from various concerts, videos and TV appearances.
This IS NOT a complete discography. This only represents what I own.
- Till I Get To You
- Fooled Ya Baby
- I Gotta Know
- Around The World
- Swing It Around
- Funkier Than A Mosquita’s Tweeter
- On & On
- Happy In The Morning
- Hey Love
- Fatherless Child
Everybody Got Their Something (2001)
- Like A Feather
- So Have I For You
- Tug Of War
- Everybody Got Their Something
- Nikka What?
- Hope It Felt Good
- Some Kind of Beautiful
- Nikka Who?
- Just Because
- Push & Pull (also available on the Blow Soundtrack)
- Corners Of My Mind
It was recently announced that Lilith Fair will be returning in 2010. For those of you not in the know, Lilith Fair was a festival started by Sarah McLachlan that featured only female artists and female-led bands. From 1997 – 1999, the festival featured artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Lisa Loeb, Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, the Cardigans, Jewel, Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, Erykah Badu, Natalie Merchant, Liz Phair, and many others.
The 2010 lineup hasn’t been announced yet but I would like to suggest getting the Sundays back on stage!
A Camp, the side project of Cardigan’s lead singer, Nina Persson, releases its sophomore album, Colonia, on April 28th. The first single off the album is “Stronger Than Jesus,” with other stand-out tracks including “Bear On The Beach” and “Love Has Left The Room.”
This May, the group will embark on its first U.S. tour in support of the new album. A Camp will kick things off in New York City and conclude in Los Angeles. The full list of North American tour dates follows.
Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays now has a new home – here on the updated version of Sirens of Song. I’ve taken the old html page down and have moved everything here. Feel free to leave any comments about Harriet on the new page!
Harriet Wheeler has been out of the public eye for quite some time now, but that doesn’t mean she’s not missed. It’s been over 10 years since their last album (wow!) yet I get more emails and comments about Harriet Wheeler and the Sundays than anyone else. If you’re ever feeling reminiscent, youtube has a great collection of Sundays interviews and videos, including their video for Summertime! While you’re here though, why not leave some comments about Harriet and the Sundays!
Below are just a few pictures of Harriet Wheeler from various videos and TV appearances. More are available at the Sirens of Song photostream on flickr.
9:30 Club (Washington, DC – 12/3/97)
December 3rd, 1997 will go down as one of the best days of my life. I finally saw the Sundays in concert and they were awesome! Harriet hit every note. They performed about 17 songs (this is from memory…I wasn’t able to get my hands on a set list) including the 3 encores. Here they are in no particular order. If anyone does have the set list from the D.C. show please inform me of my errors.
What Do You Think
When I’m Thinking About You
Here’s Where The Story Ends
Can’t Be Sure
My Finest Hour
I Kicked A Boy
*clip from a Vancouver performance (3/15/93), not the D.C. show
The best part was that I met Harriet! After the show, I started walking to my car and noticed 3 or 4 people hanging around out front where the tour bus was so, I decided to stick around too. One of the tour members knew what was going on so he stressed to us several times that if we just stayed calm and didn’t act like maniacs they’d probably sign autographs and pose for photos.
To make a long story short, about an hour later it finally happened. They walked right out the front door and signed autographs and posed for pictures. (By this time there was a small crowd of about 20 people.) Both Harriet and David were very nice and down to earth. They were making conversation with everyone and were more than happy to sign everything and anything that was handed to them. They must have stood outside in the cold and drizzle for at least 30 minutes. I am quite happy to say I was able to get an autograph and even pose for a picture with them. Even after I got a pic with them I stuck around a while and took about 7 more pics. Of course it goes without saying I ran to the one hour photo shop the next day and got reprints in every size…5×7, 8×10, and 24×36. (Ok, I didn’t go for the poster size). All in all, it was a night I’ll never forget! More photos from the night are available at the Sirens of Song photostream on flickr.
This IS NOT a complete discography. This only represents what I own.
|Static And Silence (1997)|
3. Folk Song
5. When I’m Thinking About You
6. I Can’t Wait
8. Another Flavour
9. Leave This City
10. Your Eyes
11. So Much
1. I Feel
3. Life & Soul
5. On Earth
6. God Made Me
8. What Do You Think?
9. 24 Hours
10. Blood On My Hands
12. Wild Horses
Reading Writing and Arithmetic (1990)
1. Skin & Bones
2. Here’s Where The Story Ends
3. Can’t Be Sure
4. I Won
5. Hideous Towns
6. You’re Not The Only One I Know
7. A Certain Someone
8. I Kicked A Boy
9. My Finest Hour
Summertime CD-1 (1997)
2. Nothing Sweet – Previously unreleased
3. Gone – Previously unreleased
Summertime CD-2 (1997)
2. Skin & Bones – Live
3. Here’s Where The Story Ends – Live
Cry CD-1 (1997)
2. Can’t Be Sure – Demo
3. You’re Not The Only One I Know – Demo
Cry CD-2 (1997)
2. Through The Dark – Previously unreleased
3. Life Goes On – Previously unreleased
The Black Session (1993)
1. My Finest Hour – live
2. Here’s Where The Story Ends – live
3. Hideous Towns – live
Can’t Be Sure (1990)
1. Can’t Be Sure
2. Don’t Tell Your Mother
3. I Kicked A Boy
2. Wild Horses
Welcome to Sirens of Song v. 3.0. No, this isn’t a late April Fool’s joke. Sirens of Song has undergone a much-needed makeover. As you can see, I’m still in the process of building out the site. All of the old pages will be left up for archival purposes, but they will not be updated anymore.
All concert reviews, tour updates, CD reviews, photos and general news will be posted right here in blog format. This will make it much easier to update the site on a regular basis, rather than having to create new pages for each new singer I come across.
Hopefully everyone will like the new look. I have a lot of new content to post so stay tuned!