Neko Case rings out at the Paramount
5 Jun 2009 at The Paramount
Anyone out & about this past Thursday night? Talk about freaky weather - everything was all kinds of crazy, heady, ocean-scented wind gusts through the city mixed with golden-pink sunset bliss. The walk down Pine Street was perfectly lit, with the breezes knocking us sideways between the buildings on cue, leaving us semi-flushed in all the right ways as we pushed through the doors of the Paramount for the Neko Case show.
I've got to be honest - I had very high expectations for this set, having been bowled over time and time again by both Neko's albums and moments I've caught her on the radio. The voice, the echo, the minor chords, the translated ache that many a time spurred those pull-the-car-over kinds of moments. And technically, the show was good - the staging was set up with care, screened background showing song/tempo appropriate movies; the house was packed, the band was amplified, and the harmonies melded. But I couldn't help feeling that the venue was oversized for their presence - as if it overshadowed them, instead of the other way around. The show might have been little better received, as my +1 pointed out, with two nights at someplace like the Tractor where there would have been no contest between performer and stage.
While the sound could have been a little more intimate and less stadium, and while the band might have done a little more with their presence to leave us feeling like we witnessed one of those car-pull-over moments first hand - a little more slayed, a little more remarkable - I still got a few pangs that pulled me into the world that only Neko Case can create. The notes of her flawless voice echoing out into the still venue, the harmonies that sent a chill up my spine, the string of adjectives unique to her songwriting creating images that were completely her own - a few of those moments managed to shine through. And based on the crowd's reaction, there were more than just those few moments that I managed to catch - every song received thunderous applause, only after devoted fans sang through their favorites and found humor in the band's banter.
The short version? It inherently was a decent show, and I'd for sure give them another listen in a more intimate setting - and whether my expectations and I liked the setting and minute details or not, I'm happy that Neko Case packed the place full of enthusaistic listeners who thoroughly enjoyed the show. To boot, Rachel Flotard came and kicked the stage around for a bit, which made it all the more worthwhile.
Here's the setlist, courtesy of a Google search that landed me on a random LiveJournaler's blog:
People Got a Lotta Nerve
Hold On, Hold On
Deep Red Bells
I Wish I Was The Moon
I'm an Animal
The Tigers Have Spoken
Margaret vs. Pauline
Don't Forget Me
That Teenage Feeling
This Tornado Loves You
Vengeance is Sleeping
If You Knew
Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth