Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, and Rob Delaney at Wits, 5/10/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Youa Vang
Wits with Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, and Rob Delaney
Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul
Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday night's Wits session opened with host John Moe thanking everyone for attending, more so because it was opening night for The Great Gatsby in theaters. Moe went on to joke that unbeknownst to a lot of people, the original book was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Fitzgerald Theater as a sketch for Wits, and because the audience was missing out on the movie, sudden bursts of hip-hop was promised throughout the evening.

Unlike most Wits shows, May 10 featured three guests rather than the usual two: comedian Rob Delaney and musicians Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. Delaney is a comedian/actor that could have easily carried the show himself with his non-PC humor -- although he insists that his jokes are never truly aggressive, and because he's a humanist, he likes people. Rob is well known for his activity on Twitter which features a fictional character, Karen his neighbor. Karen is the focus of his desires and concerns, and he'll often post stories such as the time Karen asked him to water his plants while she was away on vacation, so he spent a few minutes watering the plants and the rest of the time sniffing her bicycle seat.

Photo by Youa Vang
Playing into this, John Moe asked Rob what the ingredients were to a successful dirty joke, to which Rob replied, "Vulnerability, specificity, nuance, saying something you shouldn't say and put it into question form, and juxtaposition." Moe then asked Delaney to share some of his stand up, which was a rare treat. When the young Rob was twelve, he wrote a letter to his favorite band, Danzig, about how hard they rocked. He received an inane reply not from Glenn, but rather bassist Eerie Von, on how they rocked so hard and other mundane things. Being a teenager, Rob filed the letter away and forgot about, but received another letter from Eerie a few months later asking what happened -- since they hadn't heard back from Rob.

Kelly Hogan may not be a household name, but the performer has done work for a lot of big names like Andrew Bird, Jakob Dylan, and most importantly, Neko Case. Hogan often collaborates with Case, and opened the music portion of the evening with "I Like to Keep Myself in Pain," a piece that has traces of country music. The singer has a voice as clear as a bell, yet carries so much emotion in the depths of it. When Neko came out, Hogan complemented Neko's yodel-like howls on her song that Case wrote for the The Hunger Games' s soundtrack.

Comparable to an ordinary concert, Wits allows musicians to bring up stories when there is not often time for on a regular stage. Neko shared that her "Nothing to Remember" performance, her contribution to the soundtrack, was the first time she had played it in front of an audience -- something that was terrifying for Case. Growing up in Tacoma, Neko was very poor, something she says that you never really outgrow. She shared that people think that country music may be thought of as a southern thing, but it really comes from places where people are financially bound. As John Moe was dancing around putting a label to it, Neko came right out and said it, "I don't know if you can ever get that stuff off. It's like smell lines coming off of you all of the time. Yeah, I'm white trash, and you know it."

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