On a whim last Wednesday, I decided to go see Neko Case. My friend Erin is a big fan and I had listened to some of Neko’s material previously. After taking a heavy listen on Wednesday, I knew it was a must to go see her. I quickly texted my friend and gave StubHub my business, and we were at The Capital Theater in Port Chester, NY at 6:30.
It’s safe to say, that I was not extremely familiar with Neko’s work. I knew of her and I had casually listened to her, but I have not done a deep dive into her music. After reading some articles on her music, I realized she sounded like somebody right up my ally.
To say the least, I was blown away from the opening song. She opened with “Nothing to Remember,” a song featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack. She came on stage without any fan fair in what looked like joggers and a sleeveless blouse. Her hair seemed slightly untamed, yet beautiful. Over the night, her appearance, with her calm screw you attitude, added value to every word she sang.
Another element that made this concert unique was the fact there was not a drummer. Neko joked around about that throughout the show, but it truly gave the set an acoustic, raw feel. She was joined by four other band members ranging from a background vocalist and guitarist, to a steel guitar player, and an upright bassist.
As the set continued, each song began to blend together while keeping a distinct character. They didn’t blend together in a bland way; the songs were just mesmerizing. As long as Neko sang, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. She encompassed the spirit and stylings of many of my favorite artists from Patsy Cline to Wanda Jackson.
There were many stand out tracks, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep it to a few. The first song that truly caught my ear was “Man.” I loved the feminist tones within the lyrics, pointing out the double standards women face in a world run by men. Yet for me, it took on a whole different meaning. Since my parents are divorced and I was raised by my mother, the closing line of the song, “‘Cause You don’t know what a man is until I showed you,” really rang true for me. It took a woman to show me what it ment to be a man.
I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard to pick out just a few songs! After looking over the set list and remembering all these songs, there were so many shining moments. Another standout for me was “This Tornado Loves You.” This song mixed both folk and country roots. This is what modern country should sound like. Lastly, I’d like to touch on the beautiful, a cappella harmonies of “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu.” Neko and her backing singers out did themselves. This song describes a simple tragedy that happens to us all, not being accepted. I never knew it could sound so alluring, nor did I know an f-bomb could be harmonized so beautifully.
As I look back on the concert I felt like Neko’s performance was a calm, comforting tornado (pun intended). Being from Oklahoma, I know there is nothing of the sort. She was able to bring this storm of emotion into the room, while keeping everything at bay. For me, this was her way of saying, it’s going to be ok. Neko’s concert pulled you into a cyclone mesmerizing you at every moment, while landing you smoothly back on the ground to face the world a little bit stronger from when you walked in the doors.
Honorable Mentions: “Margaret vs. Pauline,” “Maybe The Sparrow,” “Look For Me (I’ll Be Around),” and “Andy”
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***No videos or pictures were allowed during the show. This video shows a bit of Neko’s mesmerizing appeal.