When the band is cooking — when, say, Getchell and Gershon take turns letting loose Coltrane-like cries on one of Agachiko's most soul-baring tunes, "Unlovable" — the effect might remind you a bit of Nina Simone, but also of Abbey Lincoln's work with her then-husband, Max Roach.

"I don't ever want to be one of those performer's who's like a soap opera," says Agachiko. "But I do want to show a little vulnerability, because I think it changes the way people listen to you."

Part of that vulnerability comes from those between-song jokes at her own expense. But then she starts singing — in a clear, almost vibratoless delivery, with knife-sharp diction — and you might feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It's not a bad feeling.

AGACHIKO | Center for the Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville | December 3 @ 7:30 pm | $12 | 617.718.2191

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