Wanda Jackson/Best Coast
Legendary rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson has experienced a career renaissance in the past 12 months, as summed up by the title of her latest, Jack White-produced album, The Party Ain't Over. On New Year's Eve at Club Nokia Jackson and her backing band, Dusty 45s, gave fans a lesson on modern music history during her 90-minute set.
In 2009 she was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and since then has been quite productive. She toured extensively this year, often with her famous producer by her side. On Saturday night the 74-year-old told a number of stories from different eras of her career, including about dating Elvis Presley.
Musical highlights of the night included a tribute to the King (“Good Rockin' Tonight,” “Heartbreak Hotel”), as well as “Fujiyama Mama,” which was the singer's first number one hit (in Japan). Also well received was her version of Amy Winehouse's “You Know I'm No Good.” She recently performed the song on the VH1 Divas tribute to the late singer, in which she noted that the two had intended on meeting in 2011.
As the clock struck midnight, Jackson and her husband of over 50 years, Wendell Goodman, told audience members to grab a guy or gal for a big kiss. As they bid adieu to 2011 and ushered in 2012 they sang “Auld Lang Syne,” and the place felt like a sock hop. For the remainder of the set, fans were dancing and twirling their partners like a scene from Happy Days. Though the crowd wittled out after midnight, the ones who stayed turned Club Nokia into their own small dance hall.
Seriously, her version of Jerry Lee Lewis' “Whole Lotta Shakin'” felt like 1955. The crowd's reaction was electric, as nearly everyone left was shaking their hips and twisting their partners from side to side until the lights came on.
With a new album in the works with rumors of more superstar guest appearances, Jackson's momentum should continue into the new year. One suspects she still has plenty more to look forward to.
Though they may have went on first, tequila guzzling indie rockers Best Coast packed the venue like a headliner. Singer Bethany Cosentino and her band played a lively, crowd-pleasing 45-minute set that featured songs like “Our Deal,” “Boyfriend” and “When I'm With You.” As they prepare to head to Australia for Big Day Out 2012, the band was solid and set the tone for the night.
Personal Bias: Watching people swing like it's their high school dance always makes for a good time.
The Crowd: Good mix of old time rockabilly fans and hipsters.
Random Notebook Dump: I would have never suspected that, out of all the L.A. Live venues, Club Nokia would have the best sound.