Saw Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs last night. Very likely my only concert of the year and well worth it. They played most of their new collaborative album as well as tunes from their impressive individual catalogs.
Case sang “Margaret vs. Pauline,” “Hold On,” and a super punked out version of “Man.” Of course, lang sang “Constant Craving.” I don't know Veirs' material, but everything she did sounded great also. She and lang largely drove the writing on their album. Veirs is also a fine guitarist.
The backing band was great. Simple arrangement: keys, drums, bass, guitar from left to right (or right to left if you're on stage). This was their opening show and the nerves showed a bit, especially early. They acknowledged it and had fun with it, at one point commenting on a certain song being played as fast as they'd ever played it. I definitely noticed it with Case's solo material. To her credit she was able to sneak in all the words without suffocating from lack of oxygen. I don't know how she did it.
But this is a minor complaint, and in fact it's not even a complaint, because it was so charming to see such talented and accomplished musicians struggle with nerves. The result was a tremendously energetic performance that teetered on sloppiness without slipping over the edge. Give me energetic and wobbly over listless and precise every time.
I'm picky with my shows. I'll see Rush (though they're probably done), They Might Be Giants, Radiation City, a few artists from Hawai'i. That's about it. When I do drag my ass out of the house to experience live music, I want to be blown away by it. Mission accomplished. These guys delivered a show I'll not soon forget.