Saturday, April 25, 2009

sort of neko case 'review'

yeah, as if i'd be even remotely capable of writing something about neko case objectively. i woke up yesterday morning and my first waking thought was 'the neko case show is tonight.' i watched austin city limits dvd. i listened to my two favourites of hers- 'middle cyclone' and 'fox confessor brings the flood.' what can i say- she was really awesome, as always. few singers are even remotely that reliable these days. that said i think i enjoyed the first time i saw her at the park west more. she didn't play 'favorite' or 'star witness' but she DID play 'knock loud'- which is one of my very favourite songs of hers (my favourite is, ironically, 'favorite'- that's the song that first got it's claws into me). she played nearly all of 'middle cyclone'- which was pretty sweet. as is always the case some of the songs that i wasn't so nuts about on the record ended up really wowing me live ('this tornado loves you' is an example of this) and some that i really love on the record kinda weren't doing it for me so much live- actually i am at a loss for an example- i still am not too gaga for 'never turn your back on mother earth.' she played my favourite song on the record though- the title track and it was just oozing perfect gorgeousness and made me want to cry. the obnoxious crowd even toned down for that one- at least they let me enjoy that one in peace. a nice segue into my next little complaint- holy shit was it a crappy crowd. i don't really know why- the energy just got kind of weird towards the end- a little intense and unpleasant. i don't really understand why- it was a fantastic show and the good vibes abounded from the stage. the two girls sitting next to us were, of course, talkers. i couldn't hear them the whole time but stefanie could. i do a lot of pissing and moaning about talkers at shows- it usually is something i can ignore if it's not a huge show or i DIDN'T pay more than $50 to be there, but once i've shelled out some major money to get to a show (and yes, to me $50 is major money for a show) i get cranky when the two people sitting next to me, out of maybe the 20-25 people surrounding me in a general vicinity, are sitting there yapping loudly to each other over the music the entire night. the odd occasional comment does not bother me- totally harmless and understandable, but talking over the songs loudly all night just boggles my mind. if your attention span is so short that you just can't stand to sit and shut the fuck up for a fucking song then why the fuck don't you just go to a bar rather than pay $50 to chat with your friend about what you did at work that day, where you got the clothes you're wearing, etc. and just take your $50 and do that at a bar. after all- all of your neighbors who are trying to listen paid $50 to listen to THE FUCKING BAND not your inane babble.
i dunno- it's the classic case of when an artist you love hits the big-time- do you continue to go feeling farther and farther away from them while still paying more and more money? honestly, if neko case comes back in a few months i'll go again. who am i kidding? but it is a bit of a depressing feeling. in the sun-times review they mentioned something about how she's broken through to 'the starbuck's generation' like that's a good thing or a symbol of success that people who love everything in their lives to be homogenous and easily contained in its little box realise that neko case is talented. it's a bit of a bummer because they tend to be the types of people who pay $50 for a show and talk through the whole thing about their day at work or where they bought their clothes. if that sounds harsh, then fine- at least this judgement is based on experience. i did work in one for about nine months and my general feeling was that people who came through that door who gave a fuck about anything beyond 'i want my venti sugar-free vanilla, 120 degree, non-fat, no-foam, with whip latte in under 30 fucking seconds despite multiple lines that lead out the door and if i don't get it i'm going to be super pissed.' starbuck's is geared towards a strata of society that don't care about anyone or anything but themselves but like to delude themselves that they do care- a giant mass of overgrown, whiny babies crying into their lattes if they don't get exactly what they want exactly when they want it. i'm sorry but that is just not life.
this is supposed to be about neko case...
i'll piece a list of stuff she played-

maybe sparrow, that teenage feeling, deep red bells, i wish i was the moon tonight, polar nettles, people got a lotta nerve, middle cyclone, magpie to the morning, the tigers have spoken, margaret vs. pauline, hold on hold on, never turn your back on mother earth, prison girls, don't forget me, vengeance is sleeping, the pharaohs, this tornado loves you, i'm an animal, fever, red tide, knock loud

this is not the correct order- but the first and last songs listed are accurate. it all happened so fast i couldn't possibly piece it back together. it felt like it was over in about 10 minutes maybe somehow. i know her songs are short, but she announced her last song and i was just like 'wait i was just getting completely lost...' plus she played 20 songs. that's a lot- and the show was almost an hour and a half long. crooked fingers opened and i'd never heard them before and they were awesome. i particularly liked the opening song they did and the last song and another few in there (one was real stark and reminded me of 'pink moon'- just guitar, vocals, some female harmonies and a real stark piano melody). 'this tornado loves you' was really good live. much better than on the record- a beautiful song live. that one really got me as well and i wasn't expecting it- very moving. the highlight was still the title track though- so beautiful. that one is definitely in my giant list of my favourite songs of hers. beautiful song that no one else could've written or sang. i don't know- what's the point of even talking about it? when i was first listening to 'middle cyclone' i was kind of of the opinion that it was a bit of a let-down but it's really just a grower. it's a very distinctive record. stefanie maintains that it's not as good as 'fox confessor...' which i think is probably a fair assessment because 'fox confessor...' is an album with a capital A- it has recurring themes and the songs sit together and are extremely cohesive. it carries a narrative throughout- no matter how loosely. it could almost be a concept album. 'middle cyclone' doesn't quite have the same rock solid cohesiveness but it comes close- it's more cohesive than 'blacklisted' is really. by cohesive i just mean a collection of songs held together by a common thread that's at the heart of each song rather than just a mish-mash of songs that twist and turn and pull everything in a different direction.
anyway, i should stop now- this is getting really messy.
i've done googles looking for images, but people were very respectful of the band's wishes not to be photographed- i guess that's something to look to as encouragement. it's kind of going to work not to break the spell or mystique. i also have a bootleg of the philadelphia show coming to me in the mail soon- hopefully the setlist is similar. i pondered recording this show but i think i'm glad i didn't. it would break the spell...

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