I missed the first opener, so the Star Bar was packed when
I wandered in around 11.
Within 5 minutes, Neko Case started to sing (with backing vocals
by headliner Kelly Hogan). Her demeanor was interesting: she'd
be joking and obnoxious one second, and then would just start
to belt out her songs. Although her vocal interpretations were
more or less note for note renditions of her albums, her voice
was amazing -- it would boom and echo and then grow soft and
pleading. And it all seemed like it was absolutely no effort.
In between songs, she'd kid with the band and the audience
and explain how the next song was about "killing your boyfriend
and stuffing him in a furnace..."
Still, I think the highlight of her set (or maybe I didn't
think it was the highlight, but certainly the men in the audience
thought it was) was when a cop came into the star bar and Neko
started to rant about how cops made her hot.
And she took off her shirt.
OK, maybe she didn't take her shirt all the way off, but she
unbuttoned it and then flashed the audience.
Does that explain her attitude?
With such a hard act to follow, Kelly Hogan managed to out
on the best set I've seen her do since the years of The Jody
Grind. For once she stretched beyond her standard 12 song set
list -- reaching backwards and outwards to embrace some of her
more bluesy interpretations. Likewise, her vocals finally moved
beyond her normal lazy interpretation into territory that could
actually send shivers up my spine.
In the end our determination is that Kelly Hogan has a lovely
voice that mixes so wonderfully with a band; in contrast Neko
Case's voice is powerful enough to overwhelm a band and make
it utterly unnecessary.