Nicole Atkins and Jim Sclavunos in Manchester


A midweek jaunt into the city centre to see American songstress Nicole Atkins team up with Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos was on the cards tonight, and it certainly did not disappoint. This warm Wednesday evening saw the duo headlining the YES ‘pink room’, a midsize smaller venue (if that makes sense) which always delivers on sound quality.

As a huge Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds fan, I was incredibly excited to see their drummer do his thing in such an intimate setting. The last time was last summer at All Points East in a somewhat less intimate environment with 20,000 other fans!

The duo, Atkins who hails from New Jersey, and Sclavunos, (ex The Cramps, Sonic Youth, and current Bad Seed’s drummer) teamed up to treat our ears to a mixture of tracks from their latest album, written together in a beautiful meeting of musical minds.

Davey Horne joined the duo on keyboard, and certainly added an extra element to the evening as the sound was exceptional. The first half was mainly Atkin’s solo work, more upbeat and littered with anecdotes about her upbringing.

I immediately warmed to Atkin’s, as she is very funny, dry sense of humour but a warm presence on stage. It was also endearing to see her replying personally to fans on social media prior to the gig, a rarity by someone who is so prolific. This is just another reason why I have since decided she is one of my new favourites!

A sly dig at Manchester’s very own Oasis did not even deter me from putting her new album on pre-order. Atkins announced a song called ‘Mind Eraser’ which she describes as her ‘Oasis song’ because ‘it means nothing’. The dry humour continued and we were even treated mid-set to a Ted Danson slow dance dance off!

Half way through the set we privy to numbers from Atkins and Sclavunos’s upcoming debut album. There are elements drawn from so many musical genre’s with a presence of Cave, certainly the male/female duet scenario. The chemistry and camaraderie is sublime, especially the closing song, a cover of Tom Waits’ ‘Strange Weather’ very well suited to both.

Jim’s voice is gruff and understated which pairs wonderfully with Atkins’ sultry vocals. I cannot wait for this album to be released. There is not set date yet but you can find out more about the tour and potential album released HERE. You can find more out about Jim’s work HERE.