Neko Case and The Space Lady at Gothic Theater in Englewood, CO on 7/11/18.

On a scorching hot summer night, Neko Case was having a wardrobe emergency. Her sports bra’s zipper broke minutes before she was about to go on stage. She called her manager in a panic. Luckily, Case found another undergarment and was able to start on time. She confessed it was the result of being on the road for over two months supporting her new album (and her breasts). After describing the pain of dealing with her “boob meat” to the audience, the singer-songwriter continued playing her first club show of the tour.

The night before Neko Case and her band opened for Ray LaMontagne at Red Rocks Amphitheatre (they have been his supporting act since May). After her last solo album in 2013, Case recorded and toured with the legendary K.D. Lang and folk singer Laura Veirs as case/lang/veirs. She also contributed to a new LP with indie rock band The New Pornographers (she has collaborating with the band since 1998). Her latest solo album in entitled Hell-On. Case’s house in Vermont burned down while she was recording it in Stockholm, Sweden. Only a few songs allude to the tragedy.

A picture of instructions for no pictures

Neko Case, dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt with checker pants, took the stage with her talented band. They started with Pitch or Honey from her new album (eight of the twelve tracks from the new release were played). The set list had a good mix of her older material incorporated such as Deep Red Bells, Hold On, Hold On, and Rag Time. The audience roared with great enthusiasm after every song. Her band played through the heat, sweat, and lights to showcase Case’s amazing voice and poetic lyrics. The backing vocals during Bad Luck provided sweetness to the melody as the dark lyrics repeated, “So I died and went to work.” In contrastNeko Case informed the crowd that she felt “f*cking gross.”

Pictures were not allowed during the show. It could be due to Case’s lyrics in her new album’s title track Hell-On – “But you’ll not be my master/You’re barely my guest/You don’t have permission to take any pictures/Be careful of the natural world.” Case ended with the powerful gender identity song Man from her fittingly titled 2013 album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight.

The Space Lady – Photo by Greg Cocks

The Space Lady from La Junta, CO was the opener. Her performance could be described as an acid trip or a fever dream. The Guardian named her LP one of the strangest selections on Spotify in 2014. After being introduced by her manager/grandson, seventy-year-old Susan Dietrich Schneider took the stage. Wearing her signature silver winged plastic helmet with a red siren on top, Space Lady mainly played covers of “space jams.” Stan Jones’ Ghost Riders in the Sky and Peter Schilling’s Major Tom were performed on her Casiotone MT-40 keyboard made in the early 1980’s. The Space Lady also played her own composition The Ballad of Captain Jack.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one having a wardrobe emergency with my siren helmet.

Cowboy Junkies at Twist and Shout Records in Denver, CO on 7/8/18

Cowboy Junkies – All Photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess

Cowboy Junkies have been playing melancholy heart breaking music for over thirty-years. I first saw the band at Denver’s Tower Records in 1996 (R.I.P. Tower Records). I remember singer Margo Timmins confessing she was scared nobody was going to show up. It turned out to be standing room only. I saw them five years later at the Kinetic Challenge at the Boulder Reservoir in 2001. (R.I.P. Kinetic Challenge). They played Cause Cheap is How I Feel conveying Margo Timmins state of mind at the time. She was wearing drugstore makeup because the airline lost her luggage. I remember her explaining that men don’t know the anguish women feel when they lose their cherished makeup (we don’t). Seventeen years later, Cowboy Junkies are back promoting their sixteenth studio album All That Reckoning that will be released this Friday.

Margo Timmins

On a blistering hot Sunday afternoon, siblings Margo Timmins and Michael Timmins along with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird wandered into Twist and Shout to play an acoustic set. Margo Timmins‘ son was combing through the store’s treasures and making a stack of his finding at the back counter.

Margo Timmins wore a flowing blue sundress with sparkling sandals. Throughout the performance Michael Timmins strummed his acoustic guitar slowly with his hair covering his face while Jeff Bird played the mandolin and harmonica giving the songs an extra layer of depth. The short set included covers of Vic Chestnut’s Supernatural and Townes Van Zandt’s Lungs. Margo Timmins urged those in the crowd that didn’t know the legendary artists to find their records in the store and purchase them immediately. They played two songs from their 1992 album Black Eyed Man including a song about a woman fantasizing about running away from her husband with a hoofed creature entitled A Horse in the Country — “One day I’ll saddle up/And the two of us will ride away.” 

Michael Timmins

Cowboy Junkies only played one song from their new album named Shining Teeth – “I’m Going Down to the River/It’s a place where I can breathe/Lash the waters, miss my daughters/Focus on the retrieve. Work on my reprieve.” Margo Timmins joked, “It’s a sad song because all of our songs are sad.”

After their performance, the musicians gave out autographs and took pictures with the crowd. Fans adored Margo Timmins with flowers, books, and marketing advice (I know, right).

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one singing sad songs about the loss of Tower Records and the Boulder Reservoir Kinetics Challenge.

Camp Cope and Petal at the Marquis Theater in Denver, CO on 6/29/18

There are a few things you never do at a concert. Never take your toddler to a rock show (it’s like bringing your baby to a drunken dive bar). Never use the flash on your camera (the light show is on the stage not from your i-phone 4). Never turn your back to a mosh pit (medical bills are expensive). And never, NEVER wolf whistle (a two note whistle that is high and then low) at a feminist. That mistake was made when Petal, the music project of Kiley Lotz, was performing Friday night at the Marquis Theater. Petal asked the crowd to identify the offender. When nobody came forward, she declared, “That does not happened at my show. Sorry. Not sorry.”

Petal

Besides shaming the inappropriate whistler, Petal performed an emotional intimate set. Her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Silver Springs featured her heartbreaking falsetto and her exceptional keyboard playing. Petal’s newly released album Magic Gone is about struggling with her mental health and coming to terms with her sexuality. She introduced the song Shine by revealing it’s about her being queer. A jazzy drum beat begins as Petal sang, “Maybe I’m just the parrot on your shoulder/Maybe I’ll be your next favorite placeholder/But Baby – I’ll just shine.” She ended with Heaven a crowd favorite from her 2015 album Shame. I’m hoping that title wasn’t named after another wolf whistler.

Camp Cope

Camp Cope from Melbourne, Australia headlined. The trio’s debut album was nominated for a J award for album of the year in 2016 (the Australian version of the Grammys). After coming into the spotlight, the band has been vocal about discrimination, sexism, and unjust practices in the music industry. Their latest album is sarcastically named How to Socialize and Make Friends. Coming out in black Adidas shorts and a tank top, singer and guitarist Georgia “Maq” McDonald oozed rock rebellion. Bassist Kelly Dawn “Kelso” Hellmrich and drummer Sarah “Thomo” Thompson kept the ruckus on the rails. After finishing the title track from their new album, Maq asked the crowd, “Are we on top of a mountain? Are we high up? I am feeling a little bit weird.” The band fought through their altitude sickness and continued their personal and political punk refrains. A fan from the bar kept shouting for them to play Lost: Season One (Yes. It references the television series). The band obliged and dedicated the song to the intoxicated individual (rewarding bad behavior). The crowd pleaded for Camp Cope to play more. Maq replied with her charming Australian accent, “We have been in a van all day. Thank you for being so nice. But we don’t have any more songs.” They left without an encore because … they really didn’t have any more songs.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one not wolf whistling.