Monday, February 21, 2005

Neko Case, The Sadies, Visqueen

I saw a fantastic concert Saturday night at the Variety Playhouse in L5P. The opening act was Visqueen, and I caught about half of their set. I really liked their aesthetic, though I thought it an odd choice for an opening act for this particular show. Playing very high energy music, they had just been joined by the bass player from the Muffs (not that that can explain their sound). The lead singer's voice (Rachel Flotard) was used like another instrument, sliding up and down the scale in a very effective way.

The Sadies followed Visqueen, performing a short set before backing up Neko Case for the headline set. I hadn't heard anything about them other than their work with Neko Case, but I have say I was very impressed--awesome instrumentalists. They reminded me of a surf-country-punk version of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Once they were joined by Neko, however, they settled gracefully into the background (well mostly).

I'd never seen Neko Case live before, and I have to say that the studio recordings I have don't begin to capture the quality and power of her voice. You could almost feel a collectively gasp from the capacity audience as she began to belt out her first number. She didn't play much of her back catalog (a couple of songs off Blacklisted), but stuck to singing new songs from her latest album, "The Tigers have Spoken." Some of the best songs were the songs she said she had written with The Sadies. My only complaint is that she only played for an hour and 15 minutes. But the music sounded great, despite the fact that she was recovering from the flu. It was one of those odd evenings; I hoped more for the quiet slow numbers because of the quality of her voice and the feel of the songs, even though that is rather opposite than my normal tastes.

All said, if you have an opportunity to see her live, do it.

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