Friday, January 24, 2014
Concert review: Neko Case weaved jet lagged-inspired comedy into Granada Theater performance
Die-hard fans Thursday ate up her candor.
DALLAS Roots rock radical Neko Case kicked off her latest tour at Granada Theater in Dallas Thursday in support of her 7th studio album, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You.
Returning to the stage after a month in Europe, a jet lagged Case put on one of the most candid performances I’ve seen in years. She continually joked with the audience and shared anecdotes about each song before performing, though many times her spastic mannerisms were enough to set off a rolling wave of laughter throughout the theater.
The redheaded “fleshy, old dangly thing,” as she referred to herself in one joke, was admittedly a little rusty. Case, backed by a tight five-piece band, had to restart the ever popular “That Teenage Feeling” after the singer choked on her hair and couldn’t recover from a bout of laughter. After a broken guitar string and a few other minor mishaps, she declared the gig “scruffy.”
Paradoxically, had Case not pointed out every flaw, the audience Thursday would never have noticed. She hit her notes and kept concertgoers enraptured during the hour-and-a-half set. Case appeased long-time fans with classics like “This Tornado Loves You” and “The Tigers Have Spoken,” while hitting the highlights from her latest effort, including “City Swan,” “Night Still Comes” and “Bracing For Sunday.”
The encore was a sincere treat for old-school listeners, as she opened with “Maybe Sparrow” (off 2007’s Fox Confessor Bring The Flood) and closed with “Wish I Was The Moon” (off 2002’s Blacklisted).
The concert catered to die-hard fans, who stood in awe watching the performance. Though the music did little to rock bodies, it was sonically exceptional and garnered resounding applause throughout the night.
Openers and West Coast natives Thao & The Get Down Stay Down were more energetic with their blend of indie pop and blues. Leading lady Thao Nguyen wowed crowds from behind a series of string instruments such as banjo, mandolin, slide guitar and an acoustic guitar that dwarfed her tiny stature.
Her sharpest weapon, however, was her voice, which she managed with impressive ease. Nguyen was able to isolate notes and let them soar on command. Like a female version to Dr. Dog, the band's sound straddled the line between disjointedly out of tune and quirkily endearing.
Ultimately, both fronting females stole hearts at Granada Theater with their openness, candor and musical proficiency. And Case made clear she wouldn’t soon forget the show, after recounting a story about her nose scabs.
“That’s right, we can talk about that,” she said with a smile, “because we know each other now.”
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