Neko Case and The Sadies

Solar Culture, Tuesday, Dec. 7

There are folks who travel hundreds of miles for a Sadies show. The band's charm has been more elusive to some of us, but last week's performance at Solar Culture proved yet again that every band deserves a second chance, and sometimes even a third or fourth. Most of the set came from their recent release, Favourite Colours (they are Canadian). The first album they've produced themselves, it may be a career topper.

In their earliest incarnation, the Sadies were a really good Canadian imitation of a North Carolina bar band--a fine thing all by itself. But from the beginning, they were destined to head in as many directions as the waters of a moraine. Having employed their elastic chops with such diverse artists as Motown legend Andre Williams, proto-punk kingpin Jon Langford and the sultry, satin-voiced Neko Case, with whom they shared the bill, the band has compiled a unique range, from blues funk to soulful ballad to country-weeper twang to garage-pop throwdown. All that and more were showcased in a wide-ranging set, driven by the Good brothers' energy-sluiced guitars.

The occasion for the show, though, was a postmodern set piece--a tour about a record about a tour. The record is Neko Case's recent release, The Tigers Have Spoken, which was recorded live early this year during three shows with the Sadies. Case opened with the gorgeous, vocally acrobatic "Favorite," a Tiger song first recorded on her homemade 2001 EP, Canadian Amp. Later in the set, dominated by songs from earlier releases, she sang the obscure wonder "Hex," which she is doing music fans the favor of promoting on both Tiger and her 2002 Blacklisted. Written by Freakwater's Catherine Irwin, the song is the kind that haunts you for days.

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