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July 29, 2009

Concert review: Neko Case at Rams Head Live last night

neko caseMidnight Sun correspondent Tim Swift (of Swift Picks fame) was at Neko Case's concert last night at Rams Head Live. Here is his report:

Full disclosure: I wouldn't call this a review, per se -- I was mostly busy fumbling and failing with a camera (see above). But here are a few musings from the concert.
Alt-country songtress Neko Case may have been complaining of a toothache last night, but for all the initial banter and mock bellyaching on stage, it sure didn't affect her chilled-out performance at Rams Head Live ...

Presumably because of the toothache, she decided to delegate most of the talking to band mate Kelly Hogan. But Case apparently couldn't help herself and quickly got chatty between songs.

Topics for up discussion: Whether the shrieks from the crowd were a rouge cockatiel or a someone getting a Brazilian, and how the band once slept in van in Fells Point. (The bitter, cynical part of me assumes that anecdote will be reused on the next stop, and Fells Point will be transformed into, say, Adams Morgan).

Sounding crisp and confident, Case doled out a heavy helping of songs from her new album, Middle Cyclone. Normally, I would have preferred more variety, but considering how good Cyclone is, it was a smart move. Case was able to be fresh and please the crowd at the same time, a feat other pop stars would envy.
The show was certainly sleepy and relaxed. You could hear the bartenders commenting about how quiet it was, and several people in the crowd awkwardly tried to dance, but they quickly thought better of it. Yet, as Case delivered lyrics like "don't let this fading summer pass you by," you knew it was just the right vibe for a steamy weeknight.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Tim Swift)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:49 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Concert reviews


The show was fabulous! Yes, many songs were played from Middle Cyclone, but that's usually what happens when an artist or band tours behind a new release.

I'm guessing you had a Sun press pass (or you didn't get busted), since there were so many NO CAMERA signs all over the club.

Missed it. Was Jason Lytle any good? Huge Grandaddy fan, but I havent heard any of his solo stuff.

So you don't doubt Ms. Case too much. I remember seeing the New Pornographers at Fletchers around 2001 in support of their first album.

Hey Sam,

If you are going to review the artist and comment about the new album, at least get the name right! It's Middle Cyclone, not "Midnight Cyclone"

This was the only problem with the concert last night, too many people who didn't know what album they were listening to, and who hadn't heard anything before Hold On Hold On.

Neko was fantastic, and she has some real die-hard fans, but none of them showed up to the Baltimore show.

I thought the show was excellent a good mix of old and new. And it was Kelly Hogan, not Neko, who had been suffering from a toothache! This was her first show back on the tour after getting it taken care of by an Atlanta dentist.

@ Alan -- fixed!

i'm sad to have missed this show, though it sounds like the audience was lacking. kelly made a dentist stop in norfolk, as well; hopefully that second visit fixed it.

great show! what was the cover song she did by Nilsson. pretty much stood in one place and glued to the stage!

Which song did she end the show with? I remember the main set ended with This Tornado Loves You but I'm spacing the encore. Anyone have a set list?

I didn't really feel like the crowd was lacking, but then I was standing in the front and center, so the noise was all around.

Richard - Nilsson cover is, "Don't Forget Me" off of "Middle Cyclone"

Chris - She ended w/ "Train From Kansas City" off of "The Tigers Have Spoken". When she came through D.C. last time, she ended w/ "Knock Loud" off of "Canadian Amp". If you haven't heard that song yet, you're doing yourself a huge disservice.

Alan - Your comment about no die hard fans there is wrong. I'm a huge Neko fan from way back, since her "Mint Record" days with "Corn Sisters" and "Maow". I see her every time she comes through D.C. area (including "New Pornographers"). She didn't come through this time, so I drove up to Baltimore from Alexandria. Up on the balcony there were a few die hards. One guy was yelling "Duchess" all night, and that's off of "The Virginian". It wasn't a sell-out and the crowd was a bit timid for my tastes, but appreciated Neko enough where I think she'll come back through Balitmore.

I considered flying up to Charm City from Tampa just for the show but was afraid I couldn't get a ticket. I'm shocked Neko didn't have a bigger fan base there....wish she would add Tampa to the tour!!!

Binh: Thank you!

Die-hard fan, and I was there. I thought it was great. "Sleepy" would never have come to mind. Her voice alone wakes me right up. Sometimes people are just listening, as well they should be.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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