Banishing the grey days of a wintery spring.
No one image epitomizes New York City in spring. Some days are like the grey dregs of winter, broken by intermittent fits of down-pouring rain. Then, on other days, the sun cracks through the haze to reveal the "charms of spring." It's a ripe time for the moving city to pause and take note of what has been and what will be. And, leave it to a wayfaring stranger to breeze through and capture the town's mood exactly. Singer/songwriter Neko Case brought the news to sold-out Webster Hall crowds on two typically atypical April evenings. At the second show, the room was filled with devoted fans anticipating favorite songs (as evinced by their numerous requests through her two encores) and middle-aged couples pawing at each other -- obviously on their first night out in awhile. From the moment Case ambled onstage to haul equipment alongside her bandmates, she defused the crowd's energy and centered its attention. Her appearance -- a faded Dr. Pepper tee, black jeans, and a mane of relaxed red hair -- brought an air of loose intimacy that eased the audience off the balls of their feet, inviting them to kick them dogs up. She to was relatively fancy-free -- her "costume change" meant accessorizing her pre-show look with a shimmering gold lamé sweater... which was conveniently disrobed less than halfway through the performance.