Neko Case Kicks Off Tour With Bawdy, Ferocious Austin Gig

April 1, 2009 11:39 AM ET

"Welcome to the first night of our tour, which is fucking terrifying," said alt-country siren Neko Case, the orange-flecked acoustic guitar in her hands a match for her fiery locks. She and her five bandmates, including a female backup singer with whom she traded potty-mouth banter, kicked off their 34-date U.S. tour last night at Stubb's in Austin not with a song from their critically lauded new album, Middle Cyclone, but with "Maybe Sparrow" from 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. It was likely a nod to opener Shearwater, a majestic local rock band fronted by part-time ornithologist Jonathan Meiburg, whom Case said her group had a "music crush" on.

But as soon as Case gave that love she took it away, with a ferocious rendition of "People Got a Lotta Nerve," wherein she sang, "I'm a man man man, man man man eater/But still you're surprised prised prised when I eat ya." Talk about a case study in a Case song. The insatiable animal fetish. The long-distance vocal runs. The subtle outro trills. No wonder her prey was duped. (Read our recent Neko Case feature, Neko Case's Animal Instincts .)

Case said she and the band had been rehearsing in Austin for a spell leading up to the show. "We've been eating fried food for days and feel ready to rock America," she said, adding, "and Canada," as if not to forget the north-of-the-border fans she's accumulated from her days in the New Pornographers.

It was one of many pre-song admissions Case made throughout a set split fairly evenly between Cyclone and Fox Confessor, in favor of T Bone Burnett-meets-Something Wicked This Way Comes atmospherics, and yielding of an appreciation for the natural world. She said "The Pharaohs" was about her first love, a "Burt Reynolds unicorn" (yes, you read that correctly). She also said this was the first time she'd played "I'm an Animal" live. "I'm gonna fuck it up," she said. Well, she didn't. Not even close.

Related Stories:

Neko Case's Animal Instincts
Neko Case's Country Lust

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

More Song Stories entries »