The two opening acts stank. There was a roots rock combo apparently fronted by Meat Loaf with someone from the Jesus & Mary Chain drumming. I could not stop looking at the drummer's hair, and I cannot remember one song they did.
Then this asshole played for 45 minutes or so. He was trying to do that Woody Guthrie/Phil Ochs/Early Dylan thing, but it was all show, down to the button-down shirt and the 1930s haircut. Faux naive singing, lots of long pauses, and a tarted-up Oklahoma flat drawl. I wanted to say mean things to him and hit him with a board. I don't much like Jeff Tweedy's stuff or Steve Earle, but they at least aren't just playing dressup.
Neko was great. She was obviously exhausted but warmed up pretty quick. Her band is fuckin' SMOOTH, too. Jon Rauhouse on steel guitar, banjo, and Hawaiian guitar: YES. Kelly Hogan is so good in her own right, that with her doing backup for Neko it's like you've got two leads.
The set was good. No "Guided by Wire" but we did get "Set Out Running" and the best tracks from the last two albums. "Maybe Sparrow" is even better live.
That Drunk Guy was there, of course. In this case it was a tall, skinny beardo with close-cropped hair and the permanent grin of the deeply intoxicated. He was a head taller than everyone, specifically a bobble-head taller. He loved both opening acts and danced to his own mad rhythm, hands waving a la Deadhead.
When Neko went on stage he produced a stuffed animal and began waving it in her face. It appeared to be a fox (likely a reference to her new record) and had the tag still attached. At this point we realized that he'd reached the apex of drunkenness, the place Bob Trout calls "I AM INVISIBLE."
There was also a woman in an Inexpicable Magenta Showgirl Wig, sort of like Katey Sagal from Married With Children but with the contrast turned way, way up.
Everyone else was really white and really drunk. North San Diego County is like that.