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Neko Case at Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall
November 16, 2007
"This place is so nice and fancy and quiet. I'm not used to hearing myself this clearly," admitted a softly spoken Neko Case during the last show of The Songbook Series dubbed "Bittersweet Country." Held at the majestic Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA last night, it also marked the last tour date for the band who'd been on tour since March 06' in support of their latest release "The Tigers Have Spoken."
Having had my ears bludgeoned by a summers worth of festival rock, the clarity of voice and sonic undulation of the guitar driven set showcasing banjo, lapsteel and stand up bass and Neko's 4-string gems, was an eardrums' crÃƒÂ¨me de jour. This venue does not disappoint. Thank you Mr. Gehry.
Neko pulled from her entire catalog, with a few covers thrown in, during the almost two hour set. Searing renditions of "Hold On, Hold On," "Tightly" and the aforementioned "The Tigers Have Spoken" rocked and twanged, while "Deep Red Bells" and "I Wish I Was The Moon" sent chills up and down my spine, sounding like angels in flight. The acoustics are Godly in this place.
The in-between song banter, which forms the nexus of the series, felt a little forced at first. But as the set played out Neko poked fun at her own lackluster song explanations, "Welcome to the world of non-specifics," and her bubbly backup singer helped break the crispy clean silence with Lean Cuisine jokes and proud recognition of her ability to deep fry anything "from rocks to cigarette butts, you bring it, I'll fry it!" A communal laugh swept over the crowd and by mid-set hoots and hollers rolled around the room.
"You're beautiful Neko!"
"Thanks lady," replied Neko.
"You're a genius!"
And my favorite heckle was an impromptu "Turn around!" from my orchestra seating brethren, which turned our dead-locked view of Neko's vibrant red mane into an about face from all 6 members, smiling and slightly bewildered, as they waved graciously to an admiring audience.
words: herman glazer