Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Had it really been six years?
Discounting an April 2010 show in which she and her band had backed Jakob Dylan, Anti- recording artist Neko Case marked her return as a headliner to The Egg for the first time since 2008. Nothing could faze Case, not even occasional tuning issues with various guitars that she, Jon Rauhouse and Eric Bachmann had to sort out prior to a few songs, nor the absence of long-time bassist Tom V. Ray, who was ill (two members of the Dodos, the opening band, deputized for him on a few songs). Exuding confidence, playful charm and self-deprecating wit, Case had the nearly full house audience in a seductive reverie with her spectacular voice and a trove of remarkable songs that explored memory, identity, loss and the natural world.
The iconic moray-eeled album cover to 2013’s Grammy-nominated The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You provided the backdrop to the stage, and a ping of sonar samples foreshadowed the night’s plunge into the subconsciousness as the band took the stage. With Kelly Hogan to her left supplying the best harmonies this side of Emmylou Harris (be sure to check out Hogan’s 2012 solo album I Like to Keep Myself in Pain), Case opened with “Where Did I Leave That Fire,” a deeply introspective track from the recent album, marked by a candid refrain of “I wanted so badly not to be me” that made one lean in a little closer to the stage.