Nikka Costa @ Old Rock House, St. Louis

Pictures and words by Duane Clawson
I think back in the early 1970's there was some sort of genetic engineering that took place that was not known to the public.  There was DNA extracted from James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, and Janis Joplin.  This extracted DNA was baked in blues, soul, and funk to form what we now know as Nikka Costa.  Friends and neighbors let me tell you, this woman and her band gave all they could possibly give for 90+ minutes to the packed house at the Old Rock House.  Simply, they could not have asked more, and if they would’ve asked, I have no idea where it would have come from.  Nikka said at the onset of her show she liked it hot.  She wasn't lying.

Nikka hit the stage with the guns of funk blazing opening with "Keep Wanting More".  If you attend Nikka's show, you should be prepared to be wowed by her stage presence.  At some live shows, the artists mimic their studio efforts note for note.  Nikka chooses to strip down her live show that results with a much harder edge than her album’s take, which this is a good thing.  Nikka did things a little differently this night in St. Louis where she chose “Like a Feather" for the third song of the evening.  Some would have thought “Like a Feather" would be farther down in the setlist, due to the song’s popularity.  Without skipping a beat, Nikka, in her knee-high white boots, continued to dance, prance, and shimmy through “Nylons in a Rip”.  Nikka and the band brought it down for a few minutes with “Push and Pull”, but promptly kicked it back into high gear with “Can’tneverdidnothin’”.  Nikka wound down the first part of her set with two of my personal favorites, “Everybody got Their Something” and “Can’t Please Everybody”, both songs complementing of each other with their infectious grooves.

Nikka took a well deserved break on the patio of the Old Rock House and listened to the audience inside begging for her return to the stage.   Nikka returned to a deafening cheer from fans, old and new.  Nikka was appreciative and said she needed to return to St. Louis sooner than the five years since her previous visit.  Nikka wound down the night with “Loving You” and the ultra bluesy “Love to Love You Less”.   After her set, Nikka cooled off for a bit and returned to her merchandise table to sign autographs and meet fans.   If you would like to find more on Nikka Costa, please visit her website and her music can be found on Spotify (this is where I plug Spotify).   Thanks to Old Rock House and Nikka Costa’s management for allowing me to cover the show.

To end, my friends at have asked me to plug the upcoming Bluesweek in St. Louis.  Bluesweek is a celebration of St. Louis blues artists where festival organizers are expecting over 20,000 people to attend this year’s festival.   For more on Bluesweek please visit their website .  Pictures of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Nikka Costa @ Old Rock House, St. Louis Nikka Costa @ Old Rock House, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on August 21, 2011 Rating: 5
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