ACL Live Shot: Neko Case

Siren overcomes Atoms for Peace

The deck was stacked against Neko Case Sunday night as she closed the Austin Ventures stage while Atoms for Peace’s war machine thundered across the park.

Blue mood: Neko Case and crew Sunday night in Zilker Park (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Despite the unfortunate scheduling, Case and her band dove in, starting with “This Tornado Loves You” off 2009’s Middle Cyclone, followed by “Bracing for Sunday,” a track off the singer’s September release, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You.

Together, Case and backup singer-collaborator Kelly Hogan ushered the audience through a collection of songs old and new, with “People Got a Lotta Nerve,” “Deep Red Bells,” and “Maybe Sparrow” interspersed amongst the newer, depression-fueled material, which proved itself to be the evening’s weakest material. One exception was “Night Still Comes,” which found Case bitterly wondering, “If I puked up some sonnets would you call me a miracle?,” a particularly poignant moment given the percussive backdrop of the overwhelmingly masculine headliner.

Despite the competing noise, Case’s band remained tight and professional throughout. Of particular note is a recent addition to the band, guitarist Eric Bachmann, who’s played in Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers. While it’s a little bit heartbreaking to see the college-rock icon working as a sideman, the addition of his angular guitar riffs to songs like “Man” helped elevate the material. It would’ve been even better if his guitar hadn’t been buried in the mix.

After thanking the crowd, which had dwindled significantly over the course of the hour, Case gamely commenced an a cappella rendition to “I Wish I Was the Moon,” with the audience cheering her on. “Thanks for sticking with us,” Case said. “We’re gonna go eat a shit ton of food now.”

For more ACL Fest coverage, see For photo galleries from the fest, see

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More ACL Fest 2013
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
UPDATE: ACL acts including Mowglis make alternate plans

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 13, 2013

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
Robert Smith summons the rain

Doug Freeman, Oct. 13, 2013

More Neko Case
ACL Music Fest 2013 Sunday Reviews
Neko Case
The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Oct. 4, 2013

Live Shots
Neko Case
Stubb's, March 31

Raoul Hernandez, April 3, 2009

More by Melanie Haupt
Joann's Fine Foods Has Us Wondering How Much Is Too Much to Pay for Chicken-Fried Steak
Joann's Fine Foods Has Us Wondering How Much Is Too Much to Pay for Chicken-Fried Steak
Top-notch service and attention to detail at SoCo’s Austin Motel

May 24, 2019

Miche Bread Is Closing After Five Years
Miche Bread Is Closing After Five Years
The artisan bread maker's final market is May 5 at Mueller

May 1, 2019


Neko Case, ACL Fest 2013, Kelly Hogan, Eric Bachmann, Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers, Atoms for Peace

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle