Thank you, Neko Case, for writing my review for me. Here I was planning to fete the virtues of Revolution Hall, Portland’s newest and probably best venue, peppering it with details about how good your voice sounded in that repurposed high school auditorium, perhaps even mentioning the songs you opened with, what you ended your first set with, quoting some of your witty repartee with backing singer Kelly Hogan and then namedropping the three songs you did for your encore.

But you didn’t play an encore. Instead, you made a passive aggressive comment and stormed off the stage rather than finish “Ragtime.”

Why? Some dude in the balcony was filming you with his phone.

That’s all right, you did warn the crowd at the beginning of the show that you turn into an “apoplectic cunt” at the sight of an iPhone being pointed your way during a performance. Ladies, those were Neko’s words, not mine. Yes, there were signs posted at all entrances to the auditorium clearly stating that filming and photos would not be tolerated. But that fucker still pointed the back of his phone at you. So you didn’t come back for an encore.

That’s fine. That’s okay. You know how much I hate encores anyway. Seriously, when a musician says good night for the first time, no one believes them. Is there anyone more disingenuous than a musician who says good night for the first time? Well, maybe some music journalists and some publicists, but I wouldn’t let my daughter date a musician who says good night and doesn’t mean it. So bully for you, Neko. You reminded us that encores aren’t a God-given right, but should be up to the discretion of the performer. You aren’t obligated to come back out and play another damned note. Especially when you warned us that you turn into the C-word when pressed.

Do you know what I really love? Staking out my spot at a show and then totally connecting with the music. But then some dipshit in front of me raises his phone with two arms and starts filming. Not only does it obscure my view, it makes it fucking impossible to watch the show. Try it sometime, Neko. You cannot help but watch the show through that guy’s fucking phone. So yeah, that guy in the balcony will think twice about filming you again.

But there is a fine line here. I don’t care about the encore. My friend snagged the setlist and it looks like we missed out on “Maybe Sparrow,” “Man” and “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” but as you said before you walked off, “But hey, that’s cool.” This is what bothered me. As we waited for you to come back (and you never did) some girl walked up to us, in tears, distraught by how the show ended. Although she did express dismay at missing “Maybe Sparrow,” I think the sudden way the show ceased was the true cause for her tears. There was no thank you. No acknowledgement toward the audience (besides the douche filming against your wishes). That vacuum, that feeling of contempt that slowly crept over the crowd, that’s what hurt her, Neko. It certainly hurt the people complaining about spending $50 plus dollars for 70 minutes of music. It definitely pissed off the woman outside the venue, reeling next to the food cart with the brick oven screaming hateful things into the night about you.

So why not ask the venue to remove anyone filming you? You have enough on your plate singing awesome songs such as “Hold On, Hold On” and “This Tornado Loves You.” Be emphatic with the ushers and the managers and the box office folks. Tell them you don’t want renegade phone filmers ruining not only your shit, but also the good time for the rest of the people in the room. Then you won’t have people cursing your name into the night, people crying in the emptying auditorium. You won’t upset or anger the people who spent good money on tickets, T-shirts and babysitters, you won’t further sadden the depressed girls who need your songs and are now second guessing their devoted fandom.

But let’s face it; there is always that one guy who sums things up best. A dude with a long beard walked up the aisle, apparently at peace with the fact you weren’t coming back out, Neko. This guy looked like nothing fazes him in life. So anyway, someone in our party shouted, “What the hell was that?” He smiled sheepishly, shrugged and said, “It just didn’t work out, man.” Guess not.

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One Comment

  1. Dave Garner

    April 26, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I read an interview with Neko Case and the interviewer asked what she thought about people talking at her shows. Basically she said she didn’t mind, shows are a communal experience. They are a place where people get together to (my words) create memories. You might meet your future spouse at the show, you might meet your new best friend. It’s a night out not a church service. And I’ve always carried that sentiment with me, because of that interview. Maybe the guy taking a video had a sick sister who couldn’t go. Who knows?

    I’ve only seen her once, a long time ago, like 2004. It was not a communal experience. She came across like a server who was somehow put out because people walked into the restaurant. Whatever. I think Fox Confessor is an album everyone should own. And love it as much as me. Maybe both show was on a bad night, or maybe that’s who she is. Who cares. I never remember the service if the meal is transcendent.


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