Tina Dico – The Khyber, Philadelphia Pa.

We’ve been singing the praises of European import Tina Dico since February, so needless to say, I was really looking forward to seeing her perform live last night, especially considering the snafu last time around. Last night, I called The Khyber to confirm her set slot, left home with plenty of time and arrived early. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that I don’t learn from my mistakes.

When I arrived, some mediocre band was making obnoxious noise on stage. I slunk towards the back and watched the crowd maintain their distance from the stage with visibly annoyed faces, aside from a few drunk girls dancing up front. As soon as mediocre band finished, the crowd dispersed to get fresh beers or use the restroom and immediately swarmed the stage upon their return, waiting for Tina Dico to appear.

The audience, myself included, grew worrisome as several men began moving amps and drums onto the stage. We all feared that perhaps Dico wasn’t up next as we’d been informed, but she did appear to pick up and tune her guitar. As she stepped in front of the microphone, she announced that she’d never had a show without a sound check before, so she hoped everything would go well. The set began awkwardly with too much reverb, but Dico’s rich and beautiful voice took all attention away from any sound system malfunctions.

Generally a deep and vibrant alto, Dico was able to hit higher notes with a softer, sweeter tone on “You Know Better” and “Cruel to the Sensitive Kind,” bringing a surprising contrast to her signature soulful sound. The crowd cheered as Dico launched into Count To Ten single “On the Run.” What was considered an excess of reverb in the first two songs matched up perfectly with “On The Run,” providing a cavernous echo that coincided wonderfully with the song’s lyrics.

Dico introduced the next number as “a song about the wars playing in a woman’s head when her man is blissfully unaware,” before belting out frustrations in “Cruel to the Sensitive Kind.” Deciding to turn around the tone of the evening, Dico informed the crowd that since she had a short set, she’d be playing a medley of her back catalog. “Let’s see how much you know,” she said and paused before continuing, “This is a test.”

The most impressive song of the set was “Room With a View,” in which Dico seamlessly transitioned between singing a capella and with her guitar. Both accompanied and unaccompanied, Dico’s voice rang throughout the venue as she somberly sang, ” But what’’s a man without a past? / We love him for his lies. / And then we try to break him down to make it last / ’Till they come true.” As she finished, Dico broke the audience’s enthrallment by saying she was going to play her last song. The crowd drew an audible sigh of disappointment, but regained their excitement when the sound guy told Dico to “add two more songs to that set.”

Delighted at the news herself, Dico re-tuned her guitar and played “Warm Sand” from 2006’s In The Red before ending the set with “Sacre Coeur.” Dico mentioned that “Sacre Coeur” would be the newest single from Count To Ten and that she’d just finished shooting a video in Paris for the track (learn more from Dico’s latest video blog here).

Despite claims of being tired (watch the vlog!), Dico pulled off an amazingly beautiful performance, certainly worth my wait. I was more than impressed and recommend you set out to see Dico live. She’ll be in Canada until the 12th with a stop over in Michigan before hitting the west coast (dates below) and dates have already been set for a winter tour in Dico’s home country of England. Get out and see Tina Dico live and pick up her latest album Count To Ten, available now.

more @ flickr

Set List: Stay Awake (or possible No Time To Sleep), You Know Better, On The Run, Cruel to the Sensitive Kind, back catalog medley, Count To Ten, Room With A View, Warm Sand, Sacre Coeur,

Tour Dates:
May 09 La Sala Rossa/Montreal, Quebec
May 10
Le Cercle/Quebec City, Quebec
May 12
The Courthouse/Toronto, Ontario
May 13
The Ark/Ann Arbor, Michigan
May 15
Hotel Café/Los Angeles, California
May 16 House Of Blues/San Diego, California
May 17 The Swedish American Hall/San Francisco, California
May 18 Nectar Lounge/Seattle, Washington
01 Dec Lowry/Manchester
02 Dec Sage/Gateshead
03 Dec Voodoo Rooms/Edinburgh
04 Dec Rescue Rooms/Nottingham
06 Dec Thekla/Bristol
07 Dec Glee/Birmingham
08 Dec Hanbury Club/Brighton
10 Dec Union Chapel/London

Tina Dico: website | myspace | blog | youtube | interview | “Count to Ten” mp3

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the GREAT review and so happy you were able to see Tina this time! 🙂 We saw her in Chicago recently and it was a fantastic night.

  2. Yeah, nice review! 🙂

    But don’t you think that the first song she played was “No time to sleep”?? As far as I know, she hasn’t made a song called “Stay awake”. 😉

  3. I believe she introduced it as a new song about “needing to stay awake at 3AM” and I remember hearing “stay awake” repeated quite a bit in the lyrics.
    But perhaps it was “No Time To Sleep.” If you or anyone else was at the show, and confirm that is was “No Time To Sleep,” I apologize and will fix it!
    Thanks for reading the review 🙂
    xoxo Jessica

  4. Love your blog! Pretty funny stuff.
    Thought you might be interested in one of my favorite artists, AM. Found him on Tina’s myspace page. They were just on tour together in Germany and did a duet together of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from his album, Side By Side. He’s next to impossible to Google though?? Blame it on his name… Ha. Check him out at amsounds.com or myspace.com/amsounds.

  5. Love your blog! Pretty funny stuff.
    Thought you might be interested in one of my new favorite artists, AM. Found him on Tina’s myspace page. They were just on tour together in Germany and did a duet together of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from his album, Side By Side. He’s next to impossible to Google though?? Blame it on his name… Ha. Check him out by googling “amsounds”… that’s your best bet.

  6. Thanks for the kind words and the music rec! I’m all over it 🙂

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