Fresh from the South By Southwest Festival, British singer/songwriter Tina Dico lit up the Highline Ballroom in New York City Monday night, shrinking the room of 500 people to what seemed like an intimate personal perfomance.
Fresh from the South By Southwest Festival, British singer/songwriter Tina Dico lit up the Highline Ballroom in New York City Monday night, shrinking the room of 500 people to what seemed like an intimate personal performance. Backed by her trio of fellow Danish musicians, Dennis “Ghettoblast” Ahlgren and Helgi Jonsson (Sigur Ros), the minstrel mood was immediately set with an opening performance by Mr. Ghettoblast. With songs and songwriting that vacillated between hushed murmurs and falsetto wails, Dennis Ahlgren sounded like a dwarfish Scandinavian Jeff Buckley (meant completely as a compliment), fortified by his very capable and very original guitar playing. By the time Tina Dico walked across the stage, replete in her golden-haired Danish gorgeousness, you could feel most of the audience swooning. The stage itself was sparse, with a stripped down drum kit and a smattering of instruments: guitars, bass, synths and the trombone (Helgi is classically trained.) Dico recently released the box set The Trilogy on January 27th, complete with a 32-page booklet and three themed discs entitled “A Beginning, A Detour, An Open Ending.” The songs themselves are sparse yet dynamic, falling into lush melodic waltzes of romance and introspection. Like “No Time For Sleep”, where Dico follows a train of thought spoken in rhythm with tambourine and fingerpicked guitar, “And who’s going to stop a running train/ when no one cares to dwell and no one wants to look back/ somewhere along the line you gave up asking/when it got a little to complex.” Her performance could at times feel a little to self-possessed, a little too sweet and close, when the audience seemed to be begging for some huge pounding catharsis. Helgi from Sigur Ros danced back and forth between bass, synth and drums, keeping it simple and direct, but lacking some balls when balls were needed on a timpani sounding drum set. But good songs and songwriting always remain intact when they are worthy. Tender and incisive, there is plenty of substance to spare, and this writer thinks Tina Dico is just beginning her minstrel wanderlust.
(Tina Dico – “Room With A View”)