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Neko Case – Oran Mor Glasgow

NekoCase1280x720Neko and her band hit the stage without long term backing singer and friend Kelly Hogan. “She’s on the tour bus, really sick….actually maybe she’s dead. We didn’t check.”

Black humour is at the heart of so much of what Neko Case does, and it shares songs with romanticism, feminism, a love of nature and a sense
that under the surface of civilisation we’re all beasts. And maybe she’s right.

The band are tight and versatile: guitarist adds piano, rhythm guitarist also plays banjo and lap steel, and the wonderfully bearded bassist swaps electric bass for stand-up bass. The drummer drums. And they are tight, sympathetic, and know exactly how to colour each song….the rise and fall.

The set list is fairly heavy on new material but thankfully new album The Worse Things Get The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight The More
I Love You is jam packed with great songs. The best of these tonight are ‘City Swans’ and ‘Bracing For Sunday’. For long term fans she goes
back a long way to dust down ‘Hit The Ground Running’ and ‘I Wish I Was The Moon’ – the latter showcasing her voice, one of the finest female voices in modern alternative circles: she can croon, holler, whisper and charm, and of course seduce.

It’s a delight to hear ‘The Pharaohs’ with its wonderful key changes and lyrics which suggest the marriage of Elvis and Priscilla, unrequited love and disappointment. The meaning is opaque as with so many Neko Case songs like another favourite she plays tonight ‘Hold On, Hold On’: it’s a common them from the nearest thing indie has to a diva.

She is a great hostess, teasing the band and teasing an audience member who mistook her tenor guitar for a bass. He won’t do that again. You get the impression of someone in control of their environment: she can really sing, play guitar, write songs, and enjoys the audience in the room. She is a natural as live performer.

Buy her albums, see her in summer 2014 when she tours again. That’s an order.

Vespertine

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