Neko Case - The Trinity Centre, Bristol

A first trip to Bristol's Trinity Centre for an evening with Neko Case. If you’ve heard her most recent album, the fantastic - but dark thematically - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, you might approach such a date with a little trepidation. It’s another perfect case of a quality album, with a score of 84 on Metacritic, doing terrible business in the UK (number 63 for one week on the Official UK Chart) but she brings with her huge respect from critical circles, and has a keen level of support outside of the mainstream.

The support act tonight is a jet lagged but very engaging Lucy Wainwright Roche. Her laid back folk-rock and relaxed interaction with the crowd is really impressive. She invites comments and discussion with those gathered, an impressive thing to do at any time, although there will be venues more intimidating than here, you suspect.

When Case takes to the stage it’s not long before the humorous stage banter has the audience laughing out loud. She and her band, mainly backing singer Kelly Hogan, cover a number of topics in their easygoing and hilarious manner: tetanus shots, antique shops in Bristol, travelling on the tour bus (“a Pringles can on wheels, full of farts and guitars”), a love for Hall & Oates with their ‘butterscotch mullet”. And all this fun alongside a cracking set of songs: ‘The Tigers Have Spoken’, ‘Man’, ‘Night Still Comes’, and “a song about a dead bird”, ‘Sparrow’.

Backed by a tight and talented group of musicians, this is one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve seen in many a month. Real music played by real talent; tonight is not at all intense, and is always engaging. Case is back in the UK next summer - I recommend you grabbing a ticket while you can.

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