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Neko Case live!

| September 24, 2008

Neko Case
Hideout, Chicago
Saturday, September 20, 2008


Neko Case triumphantly closed the Hideout Block Party’s Saturday lineup, returning to the watering hole that not only employed her behind the bar, but also helped propel her musical career.

Despite some early sound problems and a talkative crowd, Case kept the mood light, at least during her giggling bouts of between-song banter. The music, however, told a much different story. Case’s soaring vocals trigger a Pavlovian response in listeners that toes the line between aching loneliness and fervent desperation. With old friends in support — backing vocalists Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, and bassist Tom V. Ray — she tethered her 90-minute set to 2006’s moody Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Anti), sprinkling in three compositions from a forthcoming, fifth solo album, including a defeating cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Alimony.”

Save for the delicious preview of Middle Cyclone‘s spring release, the show didn’t stray much from the pattern on last year’s tour. Material from Furnace Room Lullaby was glaringly absent, and only “Things That Scare Me” and “I Wish I Was The Moon” represented Blacklisted. “That Teenage Feeling” sparkled, while “Hold On, Hold On” menaced, and “Margaret Vs. Pauline” lamented. Show-closer “John Saw That Number” broke the lovelorn sadness in the air with a whooping gospel-tinged celebration.

Case could sing a text message and still garner praise, but Fox Confessor has overstayed its welcome and even Dylan’s “Buckets Of Rain” should put in for retirement. Bring on 2009.

Janine Schaults

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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