Review: Neko Case @ The Barrymore Theatre

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Set: Widow’s Toast/Things That Scare Me/Teenage Feeling/Tigers/Lady Pilot/Maybe Sparrow/Dirty Knife/Tightly/If You Knew/Margaret vs. Pauline/Buckets of Rain/Deep Red Bells/Wish I Was The Moon/Lion’s Jaws/Bowling Green/Hold On Hold On/Star Witness
Encore: Favorite/Needle Has Landed/John Saw That Number/Knock Loud

Hipsters, old folks, fans and friends packed themselves into the Barrymore Theatre last night as Neko Case brought her tour to Madison behind the 2006 release Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. Besides the venue change there was very little difference between this show and the show that took place in Milwaukee at the Pabst Theater almost a year ago. From the moment you stepped inside the Barrymore there was a sense that the show that was about to take place was one that a lot of people had been looking forward to, and would be remembering for some time to come.

After touring behind the same album for a year there has definitely been some fine tuning going on with Neko’s live performances, which continue to come greatly anchored by back up vocalist Kelly Hogan and guitarist Jon Rauhouse (whose Quintet, including Hogan opened the show). The band continues to draw heavily from the most recent release, performing all but two selections (including the title track) from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. While those songs continue to resonate strongly live, it was the song selection Neko chose from her 2002 release Blacklisted that provided some of the more memorable moments. Songs like, “I Wish I Was The Moon,” and “Deep Red Bells” may have sounded new or unfamiliar to those riding the wave of the most recent release, but were warmly received. Additional highlights included a beautiful take on Bob Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain” and “Bowling Green,” the latter Neko claimed to have been taught to them by the Everly Brothers, though it actually appeared on her 1997 release The Virginian.

Overall, you couldn’t have asked for a much better behaved audience than that which greeted the band last night. There were numerous occasions where Neko herself even referenced the good behavior, which certainly had more than a little to do with the band deciding to come out for a second encore to send the Madison fans home with an extra spring in their step.

Neko Case will join The New Pornographers as they ready the release of their upcoming record later this year. Look for that to be one of the stronger releases of the year, with a tour to follow that hopefully will include a stop here in Madison.

Check out the incredible video for “Maybe Sparrow” on Youtube.

Myspace: Neko Case