neko case @ the belly up

Saw Neko with her band in Solana Beach. salome_st_john and I agreed that it was the whitest bar ever. It looked like a rock ‘n’ roll bar from a sitcom. The sound was good and the waitstaff were pleasant and efficient, though.

The two opening acts stank. There was a roots rock combo apparently fronted by Meat Loaf with someone from the Jesus & Mary Chain drumming. I could not stop looking at the drummer’s hair, and I cannot remember one song they did.

Then this asshole played for 45 minutes or so. He was trying to do that Woody Guthrie/Phil Ochs/Early Dylan thing, but it was all show, down to the button-down shirt and the 1930s haircut. Faux naive singing, lots of long pauses, and a tarted-up Oklahoma flat drawl. I wanted to say mean things to him and hit him with a board. I don’t much like Jeff Tweedy’s stuff or Steve Earle, but they at least aren’t just playing dressup.

Neko was great. She was obviously exhausted but warmed up pretty quick. Her band is fuckin’ SMOOTH, too. Jon Rauhouse on steel guitar, banjo, and Hawaiian guitar: YES. Kelly Hogan is so good in her own right, that with her doing backup for Neko it’s like you’ve got two leads.

The set was good. No “Guided by Wire” but we did get “Set Out Running” and the best tracks from the last two albums. “Maybe Sparrow” is even better live.

That Drunk Guy was there, of course. In this case it was a tall, skinny beardo with close-cropped hair and the permanent grin of the deeply intoxicated. He was a head taller than everyone, specifically a bobble-head taller. He loved both opening acts and danced to his own mad rhythm, hands waving a la Deadhead.

When Neko went on stage he produced a stuffed animal and began waving it in her face. It appeared to be a fox (likely a reference to her new record) and had the tag still attached. At this point we realized that he’d reached the apex of drunkenness, the place Bob Trout calls “I AM INVISIBLE.”

There was also a woman in an Inexpicable Magenta Showgirl Wig, sort of like Katey Sagal from Married With Children but with the contrast turned way, way up.

Everyone else was really white and really drunk. North San Diego County is like that.

7 thoughts on “neko case @ the belly up

  1. I so want to see her again already. I was just listening to Maybe Sparrow on my iPod like a half hour ago. I think my favorite live though was That Teenage Feeling.

  2. I grew up spending my summers in Del Mar and the Belly Up was always this elusive place that my aunt and her friends would sneak off to at night. I had visions of decay and sociopaths.
    When I went there for the first time on my own I was 23, I ate some kind of arugala salad and an expensive glass of wine. The food was good, but not so much what I had anticipated. 🙂

  3. I squandered all my chances to see Neko for the past few years, plus she lives here in Chicago. Now she’s Very Popular.
    She came up while yapping with Robbie Fulks post-show last night.

  4. Oh, 8000 Beers Man, I love you and your spelt pancakes
    Also of note: Neko Case remarking ot the crowd that this was one of these most hammered towns the band had been through on their tour. Woo, way to stand out, Solana Beach.
    Oh, and I got the crazy lady in the bathroom. DON’T EVER GET MARRIED, IT FUCKING SUCKS. Um, ok…

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