His first time playing in New York Tuesday, you’d never be able to tell as the Atlanta-based artist captivated everyone in the room as if it was his hometown crowd.
Nic Cowan kicked off the night with the energetic first track on his recent release, Hardheaded. His raspy vocals and smooth instrumentals on “Get Me Going” was a welcomed introduction to his set. The edgy “Wrong Side” followed suit with soaring keyboard features and a R&B meets jam band vibe.
“Thank you for making it feel like home to some Southern boys,” Cowan told the packed venue.
While “I Won’t Let Go” showcased Cowan’s more sensitive side with slowed vocals and acoustic guitar, the bluesy “Sun Dress” picked up the pace with soulful vocals. Seductive rhythms embodied the track with a slow rap feature and solid instrumental interludes throughout.
After debuting a new track on ukulele, Cowan got personal with the room while he introduced “Reno.” Inspired by an artist he met on the beach pursuing his dream of painting, Cowan advised, “Whatever’s inside of you, in your gut, do that.”
The poignant song silenced the room with delicate string features and acoustic guitar as Cowan’s wavering singing style had everyone in a trance.
Having toured with Zac Brown Band, Cowan said “Illumination” was inspired by their bus breaking down during the tour. Giving Cowan time to slow down and simply look at the stars he confessed, “I realized I never stop and look up at the sky and appreciate it all.”
A song about searching and questioning, a heart-pounding drum beat and atmospheric music accompaniment kept the audience intrigued throughout the remainder of the set. Last song, aptly titled “The Island Song” transported the venue to a warmer place. With Bob Marley-esque rhythms and a tie into Marley’s “One Love” to which the audience sang along word for word, Cowan and his band ended their set unplugged.
“This is such a small, intimate space I feel like I’m in my living room,” Cowan admitted. “It’s cold as hell up here. We’re from Atlanta so we’re going to try and warm it up a bit,” he said before he introduced “The Island Song.”
So, what better way to close the night with a sing along? The stripped down performance had concertgoers dancing and singing with the help of banjo, ukulele and maracas. With such a warm welcome at his first NYC performance, Cowan will no doubt be back soon.
For more on Nic Cowan, visit his Website and listen to his tracks below.