Nellie McKay The Independent November 23, 2004

San Francisco, California

Suppose Eminem was old enough to have been young when Anita O'Day was young enough to have children. In this alternate time-space continuum, they had done the dirty deed and had a child. That child would be Nellie McKay.

Even Nellie herself alluded to both artists in her show, defining them as influences. And well they are; she spent almost 2.5 hours at the piano and rhyming like a chanteuse. And what rhymes they are: intelligent, alarming, involving, and brilliantly performed.

This evening was being taped for a 'movie' as the charmingly naive yet disarmingly wicked crooner called it. Well, this evening was one to record. Nellie is sassy, knowing, and sometimes over-the-top. She's an accomplished pianist, and a vivid lyricist. She is an amalgam of past and present: jazz, reggae, Broadway, rock, blues, and country influences abound.

Nellie sang most of the songs from her CD, Get Away From Me. The Dog Song, I Wanna Get Married, Clonie and my personal favorite, Inner Peace, were all faithfully and energetically sashayed. She added a handful of other songs (John John, Columbia is Bleeding, a cover of Skylark) and peppered the set with adroit stories.

One in particular showed up inherent hypocrisy with a sadly true story of Michael Moore. Nellie handled all these tasks with aplomb, talking with fans in the audience, and imploring any future editors to 'remove this part.' Nellie Mckay is original, stylin', and packs a punch. The evening was thought-provoking and entertaining.

Which is why she'll never never be embraced by the masses.

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