All photos by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
During the middle of the song “The Pharaohs” there was a massive jolt of feedback that shook the foundation of The Electric Factory on Wednesday night. While it was bad for the crowd, it must have been hell for Neko Case and her camp. The entire group reeled back, almost cowering, and covered their ears as best they could. When it all cleared up Neko cautiously approached the mic, and asked if the crowd was ok. The crowd was fine, but we all wanted to know if they were ok. That’s the type of relationship Neko has with her fans.
It wasn’t about calling out songs that people wanted to hear, and even the smartphones were in (relatively) small use for the duration. You show up to a Neko Case show prepared to listen to what she has to say. Her songs, in a live environment, take on a new life. It’s also a bonus to listen to her rag on her bandmates. It’s a friendly , intimate environment for everyone involved, despite the size of the venue.
Stripped of her beloved studio reverb, there is a naked beauty to the music. On record, I would guess that there is a strain to the note she sings. In person though, it all appears quite easy for her. There is no effort to hit even the most soaring of vocal lines. That in itself solidifies her as one of my favorite singer ever. Swinging through songs from the past and the present, Neko and the band brought even the most orchestral arrangements to life in a way that was simultaneously unique and familiar.
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