Forty-five minutes after the openers exited, Neko Case and her band took the stage at the Wilbur Theatre last night. Actually, Case sort of stalked it. She apologized for being late, but she had a good excuse she wanted to share right away: "We were having a fight with the promoter, and I could not be angrier right now."
Case, who was obviously perturbed but still gracious to the audience, didn't elaborate so much as she stewed for the first few songs. It was fascinating to witness her exorcising her frustration, playing her guitar "like a hockey player," she humorously noted. Besides, a little bit of angst suits the nature of her feisty and fiery songs.
After one final expletive-laden comment, she moved on and so did the show. Case is on a victory lap for this year's "Middle Cyclone," but the performance stretched well beyond the new material. Kelly Hogan, Case's affable sidekick and harmony partner, jokingly called some of the older songs "deep cuts," including a stirring rendition of "Deep Red Bells," from 2002's "Blacklisted."
The performance had a splash of local color, too: Hogan and Case dedicated the show to Arthur Ganson, the Stoneham-based sculptor (and former MIT artist-in-residence) whose "Machine" series they both admire and claim as an inspiration.
The evening began with an evocative set from Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino, who coaxed an impressive range of moods and emotions from their unassuming setup of just guitar and drums.
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.