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Nicole Atkins 

When: Sat., March 22, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $15
Nicole Atkins needed heavy-lifting help putting out her first entirely independent album, Slow Phaser. And she got it from Bruce Springsteen, who plugged her PledgeMusic fundraising campaign on his Facebook page, and Swedish producer Tore Johansson, who offered his services, plus a place to stay, after Hurricane Sandy hit her New Jersey home. Funny thing is, Atkins doesn’t sound like a person who needs much help on this 11-song set, even if she does have a song about a hangover requiring emergency medical attention. She also projects her voice like a theater kid who learned to sing in her high school’s rendition of Jesus Christ Superstar — which she did — and incorporated more sultry shading later on. Plus she sings lines about hipsters, being on her guard against Lotharios’ pickup lines, and the cult of weddings over grooves that draw on not only ’70s pop musicals, but ’70s prog and disco. Oh, and one other thing: Atkins’ zippy, hand-clapping call-and-response tune “Sin Song” is dogma-baiting at its boldest.
— Jewly Hight

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