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Tuesday · March 30 2004

Neko Case was recording a live album at Schuba's last night and the show suffered for the technical details. The final product will sound great, but, for the audience, the process was painful. I was really looking forward to last night and couldn't help being disappointed with the headlining act, because I know she can do so much better.

Neko obsessively tuned her guitar, waited on the sound truck's go-aheads, restarted songs, and sincerely apologized for it all. The show lacked pace and spontaneity, despite excellent individual song performances. I question the decision to record straight to tape on the opening night of a tour. Play loose for a night and give the audience a show while the technicians work out the kinks. If you've ever watched or been involved with recording an album, you know the sort of tedium and nobody wants to pay to watch it.

Neko relaxed about 2/3 into the set and gave a taste of what the next two nights at Schuba's have in store. I wish I didn't have to watch the dress rehearsal.

Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops played an oldtimey/bluegrass set second up. Stacy discovered she enjoys bluegrass and I have a strange inclination to learn the mandolin now. Strumming that fast on something that small looks like a good time.

For Stace and me, opener Carolyn Mark's set was the best entertainment all night. If Joan Cusack and John Wesley Harding had a child with a beautiful voice, that'd be Carolyn Mark. She's goofy, witty, writes great songs, and she had me smiling before the first chorus. I'd like to see a full set of Carolyn live. Highly recommended.

Archived: Listen » March 2004
© 2004 Jason Keglovitz