Friday, June 5, 2009

"until you have to put cornstarch in your underpants, it's not a heatwave" | Neko Case @ The Vogue -- 06/03/09

Wow, this show marks the ninth show I've seen in a six week span. I don't know what I'm going to do now that I don't have another one lined up for almost three weeks...

Opening act for the night was Jason Lytle, of Grandaddy, and he was... decent. Musically, it wasn't bad, if a little on the generic side, but his stage presence? You would have thought this was his first time on stage and not that he's been a musician for over 15 years. At first he joked about jet lag and humourously exclaimed "that's why we're the opening band!", but when you're sitting on stage trying to tune for what feels like an eternity of silence... at least say something, so you don't lose the audience, or have another member play some random jams. Even Spanish Flea. Again, the music was good enough, and he threw in some Grandaddy songs, so the performance wasn't terrible, but it was almost as if he didn't know how to work a crowd at all.

Speaking of the crowd, I am going to take a brief moment and mention the crowd. Or rather, the person directly behind us who had no notion of the concept of an "indoor voice". Highly amusing bits of conversation filtered forward, such as seeing George Micheal live (and almost seeing Britney Spears), her disgust with facial hair and beards (especially neck beards), side burn tattoos which looked like dragon and/or bat wings, Mark The Man-Whore ("why does everyone sleep with him [except her, of course]) and the quote of the night: "Friday should be fun; Friday is the holocaust!"
Pretty sure she was a teacher (the prospect of which is frightening) and is teaching about WW2... but if anything goes down today, you'll know why.

But I digress. During the break between sets a CBC Radio 2 (not 3) host came out to inform us the concert was going to be recorded and hosted on their Concerts on Demand section of their website, which is pretty cool. As soon as it goes up, I'll share the link so everyone may partake.

At this point the stage was set for Neko Case to come on, and what a stage it was. With various instruments, ranging from lap steel to upright bass to a banjo to a hand-cranked music box, everything was in front of a giant projection screen, flanked by two tall trees painted on either side and being held up by a giant owl. Seriously, on the screen were two wings holding on to it, and above a giant cutout of an owl head. With eyes that, during the show, lit up (and may or may not have peered into your very soul). When Case finally did come out, she kicked off with Maybe Sparrow and People Got A Lotta Nerve, setting the tone for the whole show. Songs were mostly from her latest two albums, but she had no problem going further into her backlog to play some older hits. The projection screen mostly showed random images that were related, literally or symbolically, to the songs at hand -- with the exception of People Got A Lotta Nerve, which ran the video for the song. She played for about an hour and a half, in total, and every time I see her (twice solo, twice with the New Pornographers, I think the count is at) I am constantly amazed by her incredible voice. And, of course, her backing band did a great job as well. Case was also her usual self, joking around with band mates and the crowd between songs (see: entry title). She is one of those performers that, while on stage, you can just tell she is thrilled to be up there, and that kind of energy translates into a superb live show.
Well, except for one major factor, which was no fault of Case or anyone else on stage...

I may go off on a little bit of a rant here, but that reason was The Vogue Theatre. When I saw the Jingle Bell Rock show (Metric, The Dears, Tokyo Police Club & Sebastien Grainger ) back in December, it was a freezing and snowy day. You'd think being in a live music venue would be granted some respite from the cold, but no. It was as cold, if not colder, in the venue as it was outside. The other night was the exact opposite. It was pretty damn hot outside and indoors was even worse. With a sold out crowd all packed in, it got so hot and muggy that it was pretty dang uncomfortable. When you have the on stage performers talking and joking about how hot it is in the venue, and they themselves almost looking uncomfortable at some points, you know there is something wrong.
I like the vogue. It has a really good sound to it, and I don't mind how grungy it looks, or the holes in the ceiling or anything. But they have got to get some sort of climate control in there. It's to the point where I am almost dreading going to see The Decemberists in late July.

1 comment:

  1. Well said vice pres!

    As much as I like Mr. Lytle, I did feel a bit squeamish for him during the show. Strangely enough it almost suited him, as a lot of his songs deal with themes like incompetency and obsolescence. To think of his awkwardness as part of the show rather then epic fails was a lot less painful! Even so, I thought he complemented Neko Case very well, having a very strange voice himself.

    As for Ms. Case, I was really blown away! Not being a very avid concert goer like yourself (yet) it was probably the best one I have ever been to. She has a set of pipes! My goodness. The projections were a little 'ehh' at times, but they lit up her hair in all kinds of neat ways so that was awesome.

    Also, special thanks to the girls behind us! I haven't laughed that much in awhile. I hope to see you again soon with many stories of the Journey reunion and Hiroshima wednesdays!

    In short, AN AWESOME EVENING! : D

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