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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Though frazzled, Neko Case delivers a knockout

Mojo's, Columbia, MO, July 10, 2002

By Robert Wooldridge

COLUMBIA, MO - Neko Case was having a bad day. A bad couple of days, actually, as a broken down van the previous day had caused her to miss a show in St. Louis. But though she arrived late and a bit frazzled Case delivered a knockout performance on this evening at Mojo's.

Case went on shortly after midnight and apologized profusely for her tardiness. Though she professed to be agitated by her automotive ordeal, Case was extremely jovial onstage and did not let it affect her performance. Case played for a bit over an hour, concentrating mostly on songs from her 2000 Mint/Bloodshot release "Furnace Room Lullaby."

Also mixed in were some songs from Case's upcoming album "Blacklisted," including the title track and "Look For Me (I'll Be Around)," a dark love song about an obsessed stalker, as well as a cover of Hank Williams'"Alone and Forsaken" from her independently released "Canadian Amp." Other nice covers were the gospel standard "Wayfaring Stranger" and Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain."

Case's vocals were outstanding and she was well backed by Jon Rauhouse on steel, banjo and various electric and acoustic guitars and Tom Ray on acoustic standup bass.

Throughout the show Case gave multiple apologies for being late, even commenting on her attire which she described as "barn pants." Though the set was somewhat abbreviated, the audience left satisfied by Case's powerful performance and affable personality.

Opening up were Kansas City's Rex Hobart and His Misery Boys. Hobart has a traditional honky-tonk sound with a twist of sarcastic humor. Among the more amusing tunes were "I'm Not Drunk Enough To Say I Love You" (which one could easily imagine George Jones covering with great effect), "Between A Rock And A Heartache," and "Make Me Hate You Before You Go."

Hobart and company played for nearly two hours as they filled while awaiting Case's arrival. In addition to the excellent original material Hobart covered Merle Haggard's "Big City," George Jones' "Golden Ring" and Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."