Nikka Costa at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex May 12, 2012
Opening with the song "Dance To The Music" by Sly and the Family Stone, Nikka Costa and her band took the stage with an explosive amount of energy. From the moment the funky diva walked into the spotlight, not only were her powerfully soulful vocals enough to blow the roof right off of the building, but her brightly colored, skin-tight outfit was sexy enough to knock fans unconscious. It's not often you come across a performer who has the unbeatable combo of beauty and a phenomenal voice and the ability to strut around in 4-inch heels.
Costa made it clear at the beginning of the show that she "didn't care if the seats were comfy." She wanted everyone in the venue standing up, clapping their hands, dancing and rocking out. As soon as everyone in the crowd was standing up, Costa started getting her groove on to the funky beats of her band as they played the beginning notes of "Like A Feather" off of the album Everybody Got Their Something. At this point, fans at the Luckman were not only movin' and groovin' to the spine-chillingly soulful sound of Costa's voice, but people were also remarking about the hypnotizing sounds of bassist Shawn Davis. "Like A Feather" has a loud, pulsating bass line that translates phenomenally live.
Accompanied by five other fantastic musicians on stage, Costa's upbeat set was the liveliest I have ever seen the Luckman theatre. Not only was little miss funk and her kick-ass band busy swooning the people in attendance, but also Costa was extremely interactive and chatty with the crowd. It was her perogative to make sure the people in attendance were a part of the show. At one point she addressed the audience and said, "you guys know that you're a part of the band, right? Alright, no messing up!" She worked her tail off to make sure everyone in the crowd participated with enthusiasm.
Costa's personable nature (and hot pink pants) made it hard not to be completely awestruck by her. At least once during every song she belted out a chilling note that I have only heard the veteran soul singers--like Aretha Franklin--belt out, which left audience members wide-eyed and silenced. In fact, after unleashing an impressive soulful howl during the middle of her set, the person sitting next to me leaned over and said, "Holy shit. Did you just hear that?" The funny part is, I was thinking the exact same thing.
Along with her incredible talent and the phenomenal musicianship on stage, the Luckman gave Costa's show an extremely unique, '70s jazz club feel that matched Costa's genuine demeanor. Instead of being entertained by an arrogant rock star who wants the show to be over as soon as it starts, it was easy to see that Costa not only has a blast on stage, but she also loves what she does. Her admirable passion is immediately felt the second her voice is heard as her band moved fluidly from song to song.
Between her style, stage presence, beauty and enchanting voice-- what else could anyone ever want in a singer and/or performer? I mean, I knew it was going to be good, but damn!
The Crowd: All ages and very lively!
Critics Bias: Funk, Classic R&B, Motown, Blues, and Classic Rock are my music roots. I grew up listening to the old stuff, so Nikka Costa is right up my alley!
Overheard in the Crowd: "SING IT SISTA!"
Random Notebook Dump: I don't think I know anyone who can rock hot pink pants, a purple one sleeved top and gold heels the way Nikka did!