Nicole Atkins | Photo by Cait Brady

Nicole Atkins Brings the Italian Ice to “Pool-ooza” at The Dive Motel

Record temperatures may be tearing up the West Coast, but in Nashville, pop-noir badass Nicole Atkins is keeping it ice cold with a pool party and album release show, Thursday and Friday at The Dive Motel, 1414 Dickerson Pike. “Pool-ooza,” as it is being called, will find Atkins and friends finally celebrating the release of her funky, summery fifth album, Italian Ice, which came out in May 2020, mid-pandemic. 

“It’s gonna be the party of the summer,” the Jersey girl-turned-Nashvillian Atkins says of “Pool-ooza.” “It’s going to be like the MTV ‘Beach House,’ if it wasn’t horrible — if it was run by The B-52’s and not the guidos.” 

Italian Ice was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama and features arguably one of the coolest (get it?) studio bands anyone has recently assembled, including members of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, the former Dap-Kings guitarist who played with Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse, legendary Muscle Shoals session musicians Spooner Oldham (keys) and David Hood (bass), and other eyebrow-raising players and guests. 

“Pool-ooza” will see Atkins’ current band playing different sets each night on the ’70s-themed motel’s outdoor poolside stage, with opening sets by local rock and roll bands Justin and The Cosmics (Thursday) and The Minks (Friday). “They’re my friends and they make my favorite music of my friends down here,” Atkins says of the opening acts, adding that there will also be special guest performers both nights, including AJ Haynes of soul/rock band Seratones, country artist Jaime Wyatt, and recent East Nashvillian cover-featured artist Tristen. 

Along with the live music, there will be psychic readings and a deejay spinning soul records in the motel bar. Additionally, anyone who shows up in a wig gets a free art print, Atkins says. (There’s a story behind this, involving Atkins recently meeting some strangers partying in wigs.) “It’s going to be really special,” Atkins says of the event.

Releasing an album during the COVID-19 pandemic was “a challenge,” Atkins says, but she chose to release Italian Ice last summer because it was a summer album, after all. “It was a record about summertime at the Jersey shore, so I wasn’t going to hold on to it,” she says.

Atkins continued to perform via live-streaming throughout 2020, including two live-streamed shows at The Dive Motel. “Ever since The Dive opened (in 2019), I always thought it reminded me of a bar from New Jersey that my parents met at in the ’70s,” she said. 

“Pool-ooza” is a partnership between Atkins and SHOWX, a Nashville-based startup/ticketing platform designed to help artists sell tickets directly to their fans. “SHOWX is starting an app to book places that aren’t really venues,” Atkins said. “It’s probably a good thing for younger bands.”

“Pool-ooza” begins at 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.nicoleatkins.com.

Conceived by working musicians for working musicians, SHOWX is a mission-driven platform that creates a forum through which artists can network, collaborate, co-promote, and create all with the goal of empowering careers and getting your music heard.

SHOWX was developed with independent artists led by musician and longtime indie NYC booker Lincoln Schofield, and with guidance from Venmo co-founder Iqram Magdon-Ismail.

Visit the SHOWX website to find out more.

(Disclosure: The writer of this article is filling in on bass for Justin and The Cosmics Thursday).