Monday, July 11, 2011

Making peace with Neko Case

I’ve been promising this post for too long. And now that I’m on the mend and think I have the proper (read: non-reactionary) perspective, here goes.

Back in April, I saw my sixth or seventh live Neko Case show, this time at the venerable 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga.

That I live in Atlanta wouldn’t seem to make a trip to Athens such a chore, but in reality, it was. That’s a long haul back on a school night even when there’s not any booze involved. Fortunately the set didn’t go a minute over what I’m certain was the contracted 90.

See what I did there?

Oh yeah, by the way, why the hell wasn’t there an Atlanta play as long as the crew in the neighborhood? Some “distance/radius” clause to which the promoter made the booking agent agree?  Bullsh*t. They could’ve done double the revenue with essentially zero travel by adding an Atlanta play with no harm done to the Athens sellout.

I knew exactly what I was getting into with this show: same crew, same material. I was holding out hope of the one percent possibility she’d get into some of the Furnace Room Lullaby and Blacklisted material. And perhaps that the cool 40 Watt vibe would elicit some, well, I don’t know what. Those are long odds and one would’ve been correct to bet the chalk.

Here’s the set list: “Things that scare me,” “Maybe sparrow,” “Fever,” “People got a lot of nerve,” “Pharaohs,” “Hold on, hold on,” New tune, “Margaret vs. Pauline,” “I’m an animal,” New tune “Calling card?,” “Fox confessor,” “Red tide,” “Polar nettles,” “The tigers have spoken,” “Middle cyclone,” “That teenage feeling,” “This tornado loves you,” “Vengeance is sleeping,” New tune “Friday night girl?,” “Don’t forget me,” “Knock loud.”

I could rant until I’m blue in the face about what a travesty it  is that the crew is traveling without a keyboard with so many tunes that necessitate it, especially “Vengeance is sleeping,” “Red tide,” and “Don’t forget me.” Or about the frequency with which Case and Rauhaus change instruments that it impedes the development of any kind of groove in the show, or about the redundant set list selection. Or about the start/stop that happened somewhere mid-show. Or about the sophomoric front-of-house sound engineer. But that’s not what this is about.

Then I realized what I wanted. And I’m as much to blame for not figuring it out sooner.

While later lamenting that there aren’t enough Sadies tunes on the jukebox at my local, I realized I don’t want to see another Neko Case show. What I want is to see Neko Case with the Sadies. Awesome on their own account, stuff like “Loretta,” “I’ll be around,” “Set out running,” “Soulful shade of blue…” THAT is what I want to hear live.

So, dear Ms. Case, I’d never begrudge an artist their commercial spoils, especially after years and years of toil for meager wages. You, however, earn no more ticket sales revenue from my wallet until you tour with the Sadies. And stop in Atlanta.

Respectfully, Pauly D.

P.S. There's only one audio channel on this here Youtube video, but here's a little Neko Case with the Sadies (and Rauhaus, too).

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