On Saturday, May 10, American crooner Neko Case returns to the Bronson Centre to perform alongside openers The Dodos. Her stop in the nation’s capital is part of a large tour promoting her latest album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.
For those familiar with the red-haired maven, there’s little I need to do or say to convince you to attend this weekend’s show. You already know the gravitational pull of Neko and no doubt wish to be nearer to the moon Saturday night.
Born in Virginia in 1970, Neko moved around quite a bit before settling in Tacoma, Washington. She pursued music from an early age, playing as a drummer in a few bands, before she enrolled at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver. Shortly before graduating and leaving Canada, she recorded a few songs with The New Pornographers (which subsequently became big hits…“Mass Romantic” anyone?).
After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Neko’s music career really started to pick up. As a solo artist, over the years, she’s created quite the discography and released six studio albums. And while she forever holds a soft spot for Canada, she currently resides in rural Vermont.
For their part, reviewers often allude to the sheer physical force that this unique singer-songwriter possesses, particularly after the release of her aptly named fifth album Middle Cyclone. Songs like “This Tornado Loves You” and “I’m an Animal” only helped to cement their use of cliched one-liners and puns.
But then I saw Neko perform live a few years ago—coincidentally at the Bronson Centre as well—and I finally understood the press and their affinity for analogies and allusions. She was as raw, untamed and unpredictable as a natural disaster charting its course across the international music scene (note my own cliched title as a result).
It’s only after you’ve finished drinking in the startling beauty of this fiery redhead that you realize she sounds as good live—if not better—than any other recording artist you’ve heard. It’s pointless to try and pin down her sound; her voice soars and plummets and pretty much owns any aerial trick thrown its way.
The Worse Things Get is no doubt her most vulnerable record to date, informed by the deaths of both her parents and grandmother. She underwent a long period of grief and mourning, with some of those emotions finding their way into her latest songs. Fans will look forward to hearing tracks like “Night Still Comes” and “Man” straight from the source.
Ultimately, the great thing about Neko is she remains part of a group of artists so dedicated to their craft that they wave convention and ulterior motive entirely. No gimmicks, no razzle dazzle—just poetry and music. She frank, open-minded and darkly humorous (just read her Twitter). For decades, she’s been entertaining her audiences and inviting them to share in her passion.
So, have I convinced you yet?
We’re giving away two tickets for Saturday’s performance PLUS a vinyl copy of The Worse Things Get The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight the More I Love You. Leave a comment below by Friday, May 9 at noon mentioning your favourite Neko Case song and you’ll be entered into our random draw.