[REVIEW] Nikki Lane w/ Charlie Mars @ 3rd & Lindsley | 12.28.14

photo by Mick Leonardi

Nikki Lane. Photo by Mick Leonardi.

Nikki Lane, Charlie Mars
3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN
December 28, 2014
Review by Jacqui Sahagian
Photos by Mick Leonardi

Outlaw country singer Nikki Lane is one of (East) Nashville’s most authentic country singing treasures. Lane’s 2014 Dan Auerbach-produced album All or Nothin’ just won our list of the best albums to come out of Nashville this year, and her new material is sounding even better. She returned to her hometown after a few months on the road to play 3rd & Lindsley last Sunday with Charlie Mars, a folk-pop singer who really hates our blog.

Read our full review of the final Lightning 100 sponsored Sunday night at 3rd & Lindsley of the year, with photos to check out from our shutterbug Mick Leonardi.

photo by Mick Leonardi

Charlie Mars. Photo by Mick Leonardi.

Lightning 100’s weekly residency at 3rd & Lindsley gathers great talent both locally and from nationally touring acts at a venue with a slightly more subdued atmosphere than your typical rock show, but you’re almost guaranteed a spot with a great view, it’s really easy to snag a table, and if you’re old-at-heart like me you can get out of there by 10 p.m. The final weekend of the year started out with acoustic pop singer-songwriter Charlie Mars. I’m guessing Mars was not happy that I mentioned he used to date the actress Mary Louise-Parker in the preview I did for the show, because he told this website to kiss his ass on Facebook. I chose to mention that detail because she starred in the video for one of his bigger singles at the height of her Weeds fame, so that association is easily where one might have heard of Mars before. Now I’m talking about it again because he got frustrated on social media. His set consisted of sexy acoustic pop that a stoner guy might use to seduce a girl while on the beach next to a campfire and he told funny little stories between songs in a Southern drawl that belied his Oxford, Mississippi roots much more than his music did.

photo by Mick Leonardi

Nikki Lane. Photo by Mick Leonardi.

I saw Nikki Lane back in the fall at Exit/In, and she played even more new material on Sunday than she did then. Almost half, if not half, of the set consisted of material not from All or Nothin’, and, while there were a couple older songs, most of it was new stuff. The new tune “700,000 Rednecks” is better than anything on All or Nothin’ and one of the best new songs Lane has. The title refers to the type and number of fans she believes she would need in order to be really famous and features some killer yodeling. Lane played lots of favorites from All or Nothin’ as well. She has a cute schtick where she tries to make people in the crowd pick each other up before playing “Sleep With a Stranger,” which references the East Nashville watering hole the 308. The photo above was taken during the frank examination of of her failed marriage in “Man Up.” She says the song ended her one-year experiment in matrimony which Lane explains was over after she realized “this is stupid.” The band closed the evening with the album’s single “Right Time.” She dug into older material with the rock tune “Walk of Shame,” which she said was about taking a subway ride in New York City while wearing a particularly slutty Fourth of July-themed outfit on July 5th. The bitter sweet country ballad “You Can’t Talk to Me Like That” was another highlight, with many people slow-dancing along.

photo by Mick Leonardi

Nikki Lane. Photo by Mick Leonardi.

Lane’s ditzy hillbilly persona onstage comes across as authentic, not fake or cringe-inducing, which requires a huge amount of confidence to pull off. She reminisced about having played her record release show at 3rd & Lindsley seven months prior, jokingly threatened to fire her bassist, and talked about her music’s progression from that point until the end of year through seven months of living in a van and touring relentlessly. Nashville-based singer-songwriter Shelly Colvin makes a great addition to Lane’s band and the interplay between the two women and long-time friends is a joy to watch. The best moment of the evening was when Lane invited fellow Nashville country singers Kim Collins of the Smoking Flowers and Margo Price onstage to sing the Bob Dylan country classic “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” It was one of those moments that’s grounded in authentic, traditional country while still keeping both feet in the present, just like the Dylan song was when he wrote it in 1967 during the infamous Basement Tapes sessions. Coming from the voices of three powerful female country singers in the tradition of legends like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly Parton, the spontaneous rendition of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” was the kind of music that we’re lucky to live in Nashville to get to witness, and why I moved here from Michigan a little over a year ago. Here’s to hoping 2015 brings another record from Nikki Lane.

1 comment

  1. This was one of my favorite shows I’ve seen in town this year. It was fun, Lane appeared to be enjoying herself, which is always a plus for me. Her band sounded amazing! They really clicked.

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