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Neko Case at the Temple Club

Neko Case at the Temple Club

I do not, generally, care much about musical talent or musicianship. I understand that Mariah Carey is able to hit superhuman high notes and to do incredible things with melisma; I just don’t like listening to her doing these things. And I’d just about rather eat my own foot than subject myself to a guitar virtuoso.

It’s not that I’m entirely indifferent to skill or talent or art; it’s just that these things are not that important to me. The bands I like make music because they have to—because they are compelled to—and I consider it a bonus if they also happen to be good at it.

Neko Case is an excellent example of the happy marriage of musical compulsion and musical gifts. No one who doesn’t feel a deep need to make music would spend so much of herself doing it, and no one with her voice could be forgiven for not using it. Watching Ms. Case sing is always an uncanny experience—it’s just so hard to believe that that sound could actually emerge, unaided, from a human throat—but the near-miraculous quality of her voice was particularly evident Saturday night at the Temple Club in Lansing. I am neither an expert on nor a connoisseur of mixing, but even I could tell that the sound was shit. It was kind of like Ms. Case was singing from the bottom of a well, but, even when she’s singing from the bottom of a well, she’s amazing.

She did a lot of songs from her new album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, which was all right with me because I really like her new album (and I luv the freaky cover art by Julie Morstad). She also sang “Buckets of Rain” and “Wayfaring Stranger,” which pleased Ted, and she did “Furnace Room Lullaby,” my second favorite song of hers (the first is “Make Your Bed”), so I was happy.

This is the third time I’ve seen Neko Case, and the venues keep getting bigger. I can’t imagine she’ll ever be playing stadiums, but she’s getting hot—NPR hot!—so, if you want to see her somewhere even a little bit intimate, you should see her now.

April 3, 2006 | Permalink


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