LIVE: Nellie McKay @ the Van Dyck, 4/4/15 (Second Show)

April 15th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg

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Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

It is difficult to pigeonhole the music of Nellie McKay, who entertained – and I truly mean entertained – a close-to-sold-out audience in the second of her two shows at the Van Dyck in Schenectady on Saturday night.

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Accompanied by bass player Alexi David and drummer Kenneth Salters, McKay mesmerized the audience with the most eclectic set of music I have yet to hear. Somehow, she weaved standards from the ’30s along with her originals and covers of songs from the ’60s British Invasion that perhaps us baby boomers consider standards. Her spirited delivery made it all make sense.

Her set list featured standards such as:

“Body and Soul” (Billie Holiday)
“A Tisket, A Tasket” (Ella Fitzgerald, complete with call and response from the band as in the original)
“I Cover the Waterfront” (Billie Holiday)
“Midnight Sun” (Sarah Vaughan)

to

“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” (Gerry & the Pacemakers)
“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” (Herman’s Hermits) / “Georgy Girl” (The Seekers)
“Sunny Afternoon” (The Kinks)
“I‘m So Tired” (The Beatles)

And they were all interspersed with her own satirical songs, such as her humorous look at feminism “Mother of Pearl”.

Her background in stand-up comedy, gave a comic edge to the performance. There was a squirrelly imitation of Bob Dylan in the middle of the set that had the entire audience smiling and laughing with glee.

To quote Duke Ellington, “There is good music, and the other kind.” McKay certainly performed good music; there was none of the other kind.

SECOND OPINIONS:
Greg Haymes’ review at Nippertown
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “‘No, let’s play something else,’ said Nellie McKay, startling her fans by stopping the Beatles’ ‘If I Fell’ in its tracks at the Van Dyck on Saturday. It was OK, she sang it all the way through in her encore. But, just four songs into the first of her two sold-out shows, this detour showed off her great gift: to be vulnerable and fearless at once. Her other gifts dazzled the crowd in their abundance and the imaginative ways she juggled them: deeply jazzy piano, a whisper-to-a-roar voice, and a stunning, whiplash ability to toggle between achingly sincere and twist-your-funny-bone-hard humor.”

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