"There's Lightning On Your Shoulder!"

Can't say enough good things about Neko Case's performance at the Granada Theatre last night. It was my seventh time to see the Tacoma, WA, singer, so you might not trust my bias when I gush about the hour-and-a-half set, but she's never been in finer form. Her supporting cast also was the best I'd seen, particularly Jon Rauhouse's tornado-dizzy finger-pickin' on banjo and pedal steel and Kelly Hogan's jaw-dropping harmony vocals. More than a few people fell in love with Hogan last night, asking me who the hell she was, but longtime fans know her for her backup vox on the last three Case records (and, more important, for her tremendously undernoticed 2001 solo album and her work fronting the late, great Jody Grind). (On a personal note, thanks for throwing the cover of "Knock Loud" into the final encore, ladies. Gorgeous.)

More important than how Case and co. did was how Dallas performed. The Monday-night crowd, whch filled the room to a near sell-out, went absolutely ape over Case, cheering and laughing for every song, every pedal steel solo and every "Houston sucks" speech from the band, and the crowd was pretty damn enthusiastic for semi-solid openers the High Dials as well. The city has a rep for not appreciating good shows, but as Noah W. Bailey put it when he left the Granada last night, "even the frat boys were being cool." And props to whoever fine-tuned the Granada sound to near-perfection.

Of course, a Neko Case concert review is nothing without quotes, which were, more or less: "You know why Houston sucks? Because Eddie Fucking Money lives there." "The best thing about Texas is that every Mexican restaurant claims to be ZZ Top's favorite." "Did you know that Miles Davis was in a Cameo video? He just stands there, mumbling, and you know all he's saying is [in a low, grouchy voice] 'motherfuckermotherfuckermotherfucker.'" --Sam Machkovech

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