It was a great Blind Pig night. That is, the encore came just before 2 a.m., with beer bottles rolling and clinking across the floor and the audience and band summoning a last bit of energy because we didn't want the night to end. The last song Neko sang was "South Tacoma Way," an elegy that starts almost too personally, like a conversation among people we don't know, but grows into a moving memorial. She addresses the loved one she's mourning, and as she drives through their old hometown, "the world turns in slow motion," and she sees her loss in the landscape among "all the cross streets [that] bear your name."
Neko comes back to the Blind Pig on Thursday, May 9. I imagine she'll mix the Furnace Room Lullaby songs with some from her upcoming album, so the drama will lie in whether she can reach the same depths and achieve near perfection again.
[Originally published in May, 2002.]