Oh, that Voice! That VOICE!! And to hear it in Radio City Music Hall, the pinnacle of good acoustics… it was truly magic. Neko Case and her aggressively-bearded band dazzled and amused with a performance that included a smattering of selections from each album and some hilarious banter with her sidekick/backup vocalist/stand up comedienne-in-residence Kelly Hogan. She’s touring to support her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. It’s yet another album from her where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and its parts are utterly glorious.
Neko Case is known for the force of her voice, and the beauty of her lyrics. Seeing Neko live was every bit as spiritually and auditorially fulfilling as I had hoped it would be. It was a beautifully wrapped and beribboned present. The impact of her voice and poetic lyrics in such an acoustically blessed venue was pretty damn powerful. When an artist like Neko Case unleashes her voice and taps into the power of music as a means of transcension, it is a vehicle that takes you to the top of the mountain and then catapults you into the heavens.
[Ed. note: This used to be an embedded video of her performance of Night Still Comes on Jimmy Fallon a couple weeks ago, but the video has been evaporated for what I'm sure are nefarious reasons.]
From Night Still Comes:
Did they poison my food? Is it cause I’m a girl?
If I puked up some sonnets, would you call me a miracle?
I’m gonna go where my urge leads no more.
Swallowed, waist-deep, in the gore of the forest
A boreal feast, let it finish me, please.
Cause I revenge myself all over myself.
There’s nothing you can do to me.
Highlights from last night’s show for me: That Teenage Feeling, Hold On Hold On, and Man.
New Pornographers bandmate A.C. Newman opened for her. He and his band put on a solid show, much more energetic than last time I saw them, ending with my fave by them “Drink to Me Babe, Then.” I was hoping for them to share the stage with Neko and perform a New Pornographers song or two, but that didn’t happen. She did call him and crew out to help with one song, but Newman and band huddled together at the far edge of the stage like they were all sharing one umbrella and waiting for a bus. I was expecting a little more comfortable friendliness between the bands. Maybe a group hug at least?
I’m working my way through the 7 Stages of Grief over this otherwise brilliant performance by Neko that inexplicably did not include Magpie to the Morning. It took me years (plural!) to get over Radiohead not doing Subterranean Homesick Alien when I saw them live. I finally came to terms with it but have had a real setback in my emotional health with last night’s tragic misstep by Ms. Case. What kind of world are we living in where Neko does not perform her most glorious song?! My delightful companion for the evening kept things positive by suggesting this meant we just need to see her again. I’m still heavy hearted.
Helping me reach Stage 6 (Reconstruction and Working Through) in the days after is this epic clip of Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Merchant and Joseph Gordon Levitt in a lip-synch battle for the ages.