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Friday, June 19, 2009

Neko Case at The Greek Theater - A Review

It’s time for my review of last weekend’s Neko Case concert at The Greek Theater. Firstly, the Greek is up in the hills of Griffith Park in Los Angeles and it’s a breathtaking place to see live music. You are surrounded by trees, sitting in the open air, under the moon and stars (well what of them you can see in L.A.) and it’s an intimate venue with not a bad seat in the house. It was a mild June evening and after a vodka cocktail followed by a beer I didn’t even need to put my sweater on. I love too that you can get concessions like popcorn, pretzels, nachos, red vines, etc. I wore the perfect Neko shirt that I found out shopping recently. It’s a blue t-shirt with a picture of a lion’s head framed by a heart and the word MANEATER above it! When I found that shirt I new I had to wear it to see Neko because it goes along so perfectly with her song, People Got a Lot of Nerve off her new album with it’s chorus, “I know you know that I’m a man, man, man, man, man, man eater. But still you’re surprised-prised-prised when I eat ya.” It was the right choice and I got a few compliments on it from perfect strangers at the show!

Now the music. I was going to try to remember the set list but I’m terrible at that if I don’t write it down immediately, which I didn’t, so forget it. She played a good mix of new songs and old and she played my all time favorite Neko song, I Wish I Was The Moon so I was pretty happy. It’s obvious that she and her band and backup singers have been together for a long time and enjoy one another’s company; they have great banter and excellent cadence and flow. I’m amazed by how clear voiced she is – it just rings out and reaches every nook and cranny of a room. To hear her sing in this open air environment was even more amazing because she was really allowed to let her clear voice soar. She has a very distinct style of live singing. She has what should be a patented way of moving her mouth away from the mic so that her words perfectly fade. In between the music Neko is like a comedian. She is really funny, snarky, and charming. She was often making fun of one of her guitar players (and made jibes at her own expense as well) and was insistent that members of the audience should “hook” up under the stars because the entire band had purposely sacrificed getting laid that night so we could instead. Between the music and the joking she had the audience in the palm of her hand the entire night. We would have sat there forever listening to her sing and chat and laugh and cajole. They did come out for a very nice encore where she sang Magpie to the Morning and Knock Loud.

The only complaint I had about the evening was the group of people behind us. They were a big group of friends who had gotten together for the show and it seemed that half of them were fans and half didn’t really know Neko. Unfortunately the half that didn’t know Neko drank many beers but then felt more like talking to each other than listening to Neko. It was distracting at times, but overall I did my best to ignore them. I just don’t understand though why you would go to a live show just to chat through it! If you want to chat, go stand at the bar!

So I was able to take some pictures at the show. Illicitly of course! We were warned that no picture taking or recording devices were allowed! I'm a bad girl.

First, here's a promotional picture of The Greek:

Next a shot of the opening act, Jason Little. You can really see what a beautiful evening it was:

Although she will hate that I've posted this picture, this is a self portrait of Jen and me waiting for Neko:

And although you can't see her at all, this is Neko and her band. She had a video screen up behind her with lovely animated images running throughout the show. You can see the mellow glow of the lights from the city just over the roof of the theater. It's nice.

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