The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Neko Case performs at Hancher Auditorium for Mission Creek

After 20 years of experience in the music industry, Neko Case displayed her talent and expertise, ending the first night of this year’s festival with a bang. 
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The cover of Neko Case’s 2018 album, \”Hell-On.\” Nekoalbum

On Thursday night at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, a crowd of more than 500 audience members was dead silent as singer-songwriter Neko Case interrupted her own song with a drawn-out, ear-piercing scream.

After a beat of awestruck silence, the crowd leaped to a standing ovation, stunned by her display of passion. 

From worldwide touring, being a part of two different bands, creating three solo albums, and receiving two Grammy nominations throughout her 20-year career, Case has championed her corner of the contemporary folk genre, amassing almost 500,000 average monthly listeners.

After many years of experience in her field, Case has unsurprisingly built up a loyal fanbase. 

“This is my fifth concert of [Case’s], I have actually traveled different places to see her,” one attendee, Jean Hartnett, said. “We came from Nebraska to see this show. I just had to see her.” 

For other attendees who hadn’t known of Case before her Iowa City performance, their first show with Case certainly won’t be their last.

“I had never heard of her before. Someone took me to [this] concert and I just fell in love with her,” another attendee, Kim Carpenter, shared after the performance.   

Case’s experience in the industry and subsequent confidence shined through in her powerful voice. Her band seamlessly communicated to establish fluidity throughout the set. The singer’s love and respect for her instrumentalists is obvious, and it pays off.

 “I just think that she interacts with her bandmates in such a cool way,” said Harnett. 

Case displays her talent for lyricism by showing a wide range of topics that she can write about. At one point she is singing an ode to all of the bandmates she has worked with and the next she is singing about a spider and its articulate web. 

“Her writing is amazing, it really is like poetry,” Carpenter added. 

Case’s set was more than a concert; it was an experience. She expressed her creativity through more than just her lyrics, seamlessly switching from guitar to drums, to filling the room with just the power of her voice. It was enough of an act to leave one wondering: Is there anything Case can’t do? 

Likewise, Case’s ability to ascend genres is an impressive sight to see. She would float between folk twang with heavy acoustic guitar accents and nature-centered lyrics, and indie-rock with power chords on the electric guitar and exciting drum solos. 

Case knew exactly how to migrate from haunting, stripped vocals and bare instrumentals on one track to a high-energy chorus with upbeat guitar and drums on the next. 

After her set concluded, Case expressed her gratitude for everyone’s presence and enthusiasm to a crowd who remained standing, applauding for multiple minutes after Case exited the stage. 

“It has been about a decade since [I have] seen her last so I was wondering if anything has changed. She still sounds great,” author and attendee Elena Passarello said. 

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