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Nikka's creativity

Nikka Costa
The Rave
Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 29, 2008
Nikka Costa Nikka Costa Nikka Costa

Story by Andrea Jenels
Photos by April Lynn

Nikka Costa treated Milwaukeeans to an intimate show at The Rave on Tuesday night. Surprising was the lack of attendance (only filling about a quarter of the club) but the high amount of enthusiasm was not. Opening the evening loud and in true funkadelic fashion, Costa made it apparent that she not only loves what she does, but thrives on the positive feedback from her fans. Barely fitting on the stage with her seven-piece back-up band including two drummers, two guitars, bass, trombone, and trumpet, she belted out tunes from her third and latest release Pebble to Pearl including the catchy 60's mod-inspired "Stuck To You," to the light soul grooving on "Cry Baby" reminiscent of early Al Green, with it's simple soul backbeat behind Costa's cool and collective vocals. Dressed modishly in a black turtleneck, bellbottoms, and a fur lined vest, Nikka Costa needs to make little effort in trying to be sexy (or over-sexy) like most modern studio produced singers marketed in the mainstream today.

Her signature curly red locks, sense of humor, and ability to connect with her fans speaks volumes to just the kind of performer she strives to be. Such was apparent when she took time out between tuning her guitar to recognize two superfans who also attended shows in Philly earlier in the week, and Chicago just the night before. Before beginning the mellowed out "Mr. Nelson" Nikka tactfully put a rather inebriated gentleman fan into his place by stating that his alcohol influenced cat-calls sounded more "like a woman in bed" rather than an enticing proposition. Managing to keep the small yet grateful audience afloat, Costa was a reminder that in a commercial fueled industry sometimes the best musicians are not products of a well-constructed label, but rather the product of their own creative abilities and intuitions.

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