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Neko Case: A voice of distinction

Neko Case live in Tucson


Neko Case, a former resident of Tucson, brought her show back to Tucson to a capacity crowd at the Rialto Theatre. Right now, the Rialto Theatre and its patrons are reaping the benefit of great bands being available during the Coachella two-week trek. Neko Case is one of those performers playing in the area.

Neko Case at the Rialto Theatre.
©Mary F. Andrews

Neko is not a novice in the music scene. She started out as a drummer for local punk bands in Vancouver, BC. By the time she finished college, she had sung some vocals for Canadian band, The New Pornographers. Their first album was a surprise success in 2000. Case was featured on four more Pornographer albums. She fully embraced country music in her early albums. Her third full-length solo album, "Blacklisted", and "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" were recorded in Tucson. Her album, "Middle Cyclone" debuted at number three on the Billboard charts in 2009. For more information, check here.

The lighting was very low during this show and I was only allowed to use a point and shoot camera. Case had a recent skirmish with audience members in Cincinnati that has made her camera policies ever more astringent. For more info click here. My apologies for the poor quality in the photos.

Neko Case’s impeccable voice was in fine form Saturday night and she offered a sample of her quirky, often heartbreaking lyrics. The set started with “Where Did I Leave that Fire” that set a sorrowful tone. The song is from her excellent new album, “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.” Some of her songs can veer on maudlin, like “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” a fly-on-the-wall view of a mother’s verbal abuse of her child.

The mood was lightened with rocker “Man.” She tended to joke more toward the end of the set. Some in the audience were shouting requests. Laughingly, she said, “No, that’s no the one I’m going to do. You can come hit me after the show.”

Her band and background singer were top-notch musicians toggling between pedal steel, banjo, acoustic bass and trombone. It was great time had by the fans. For a full set list, click here.

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