I really wish I could say that I was there in DC at the 9:30 Club last night when Neko Case went on stage and played. But at the time I was getting out of work in my sleepy little city where I keep my day job as a web monkey while she was getting on stage.
I wanted to see her play, which would give me the same sensation as those sailors as they dove off the ship to the sirens. Instead I’m trying to shove my head into the Firewire 800 port to dive into that same abyss of pure bliss(a horrible way to die, but I won’t care, the siren’s songs acts as a pain killer).
The one thing you have to understand about the allure to Neko Case is her voice. She can sing softly and gentle and within three bars, her voice and brim with with such strength you have to wonder if it’s the same person. The music also compliments the voice and you can feel that it’s in perfect harmony. This is coming live. No electronic equipment dubbing her and she sings. It’s all her. And she does it so perfect that you really have to wonder how she does it. It’s rare to hear an act in this age of manufactured music something this pure, raw and wonderful.
It feels like a dream at times.
I’m going to have to say, and I own most of Case’s albums, the live show is better than the recorded tracks. At points you can hear the act skid into jazz and the backing band sliding into improvisation. People hated when jazz acts improved on stage to their favorite songs, but Case’s backing band, a superb band, made it so beautiful I’m actually disappointed in the albums that I own.
Thirty minutes into the session I had to switch from speakers to headphones. I was losing something in the translation. I wanted to feel like the act was being belted from those giant speakers that every stands next to be closer to the band as they play on stage. Going deaf. Happily deaf, but deaf from being that close where you can feel the wind being pushed around from the band as they strum the guitars and bass or from the bass drum as it pounds.
Live shows are wonderful. Even if you can’t be there. At least you can hear all the people screaming affections to her.
What was nice about hearing the show, was that Case was unsure of herself about the songs that she wasn’t use to playing. Her staple songs. Instead she was mixing in her new tracks. But every time she played them, they sounded just as good as her staple of songs that she has been playing for years.
There was also a set up from her about how she was starting to sing with one arm behind her back as if she was a skating back in the 19th century. She’s a geek, but she proudly admits to that fact. It’s another reason to love her music even more.
The only bad thing about this show. And it’s a minor thing, I wasn’t there and I don’t have those large speakers that would allow me to hear the music play was I walk over to the office fridge to get something to drink. That’s the only negative of the entire show. The entire TWO hour show.
You too can listen to the entire show from NPR and in due time download the podcast and be amazed at Neko Case. For those that are barely hearing of her, this is a perfect first exposure. It has a great deal of new tracks from her latest album, Middle Cyclone, and many from her older albums. There are over 125 tracks to get from iTunes and Amazon, or from your local music store.