Neko Case and Eric Bachmann at The Belly Up
Eric Nielsen 02.22.07
Ever heard an angel? Ever spent time in a giant room with a thousand people as the reverb drenched voices of goddesses descended? Topping my list for concert of the year was the Neko Case show this weekend. Her band was on fire but the whole night was a set up for her voice. As the reigning queen of sexiest girl in rock, it's her voice that does it. And believe me, there were more girls in the front than fellas, mouthing every word to every song. She can fucking bring the sweetest, strongest, sexiest, song to life with an emotional outpouring of rich lyrics and melting harmonies (with her back up singer Rachel) as you could ever hope for. Fuck the alt country label this was straight up country. Pedal steel, banjo, brushes on the drums, stand up bass, tight wranglers. Patsy Cline on the mic. This was country crossing over.
Most people know Neko for her solo work but she was the indy queen before in the New Pornographers and the baby kid rocker, Cub. Now she's a great country singer, maybe the best alive. If you don't think it's country check out the tour with Merle Haggard or the show in LA with Porter Wagoner, with Dwight Yoakam on bass, Billy Bob Thorton on drums and Marty Stuart on mandolin, whom Eric Bachmann called the greatest mandolin player alive. If you're not a fan of country music but you're very interested in Neko she can take you all the way over and convince you.
The show started early at 9 pm (Japanese style) and Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf played a great steady handed show on the nylon stringed acoustic to a full house. Eric Bachmann is turning into an American icon after all the touring, different bands and songs he's woven into the indy underground scene throughout the years I've been growing up. This show was way above ground. He's a pleasure to be around and has no trouble getting on these stellar tours playing solo shows.
Back to Neko, I almost cried numerous times during the set (it was just so damn beautiful). When the guitarist came backstage, I congratulated him on a great show over a cigarette and he said, "yea it's fun isn't it?" I nodded along and agreed. But, to me it was more than fun, it was a life changing experience. One of those shows that only hits you every year or so. One of those moments where you value your life and make plans to make things better between you and your lover, regardless of how good or bad things are. Yes, Neko can do it. She can bring it. She can reproduce her album effortlessly live. The backup harmonies were perfect, the band was nearly flawless. The lap steel and pedal steel were phenomenal.
Cheers to The Belly Up, Neko Case and Eric Bachmann for an amazing musical journey this past weekend. It was so perfect that it blew the top of my skull open. I'm working on getting some Neko pics from the show so check back a little later.