Neko Case returned to the Twin Cities on Wednesday night for the first of 2 intimate shows at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. She is out touring in support of her latest release Hell On.
Neko stared off the show with “Pitch or Honey”, a cut from Hell On. Starting off slowly with haunting drums and a low-end piano drone, Case began plucking apocalyptic notes on her acoustic guitar. Stepping up to the mic, she began to sing, and her voice, instantly recognizable, brought a reassuring calm back to the room. While “Pitch or Honey” starts out passive, by mid tune it really starts to rock, and the tempo change got the Fitzgerald engaged. She also engaged the audience, telling them her music would help them digest their dinner.
Quick disclaimer, here is where I start gushing. Neko’s songs are so unique, so original, so damn sublime. Music untarnished by commercialism, zero fucks given to the establishment. She is a poet laureate, a national treasure. On Wednesday night she had the Fitzgerald under her spell. Case peerlessly captures the most convoluted human sentiments with uncluttered, elegant vision. Each song is a compelling novel, a fascinating documentary you cannot turn away from.
Almost half the show was tracks taken from Hell On. Highlights from this latest release included “Curse of the I-5 Corridor”, “Oracle of the Maritimes” and “Winnie” Guitarist Zander Schloss created an aural backdrop with his less is more guitar style. Case spoke to the crowd often, at one point telling them her music would help them digest their dinner. This Tornado Loves You” from Middle Cyclone garnered a loud response from the Fitz audience. “Deep Red Bells” went deep into her catalogue and was flawlessly performed.
Neko Case continues to fill a void in music right now, defying pop-Americana trends and forging her own path with smart stories that don’t have fairytale endings but shed light into the darker recesses of the human condition.
Setlist: Pitch Or Honey – Last Lion Of Babylon – Deep Red Bells – City Swans – Margret Vs Pauline – Maybe Sparrow – Calling Cards – Winnie – Bad Luck – Curse Of The I-5 Corridor – Gumball Blue – Oracle Of The Maritimes – Hex – Local Girl – This Tornado Loves You – Halls Of Sarah – Dirty Diamond – Train From Kansas – Hold On, Hold On – Man
Encore: The Pharaohs – That Teenage Feeling – Loretta