Live Review: peter case

april 11 • green frog

Peter Case’s show at the Green Frog on April 11 began with  “Put Down The Gun,” whose soft, finger-picked guitar make one think of driving on a sunny day in search of the “hiding place” his lyrics speak of, “where the green fields sway with lavender that stirs the Queen Anne’s lace.” The lights dimmed as Case played and the crowd knew it was in for a night of storytelling infused with folk, rock, and some hard-hitting blues.
Case walked into the Green Frog, guitar strapped on his back, at 8 p.m. on Friday night, and sat down under the blue-red lights. He pulled out his guitar and apologized to the crowd for being an hour late. “I forgot where Bellingham was,” he said as the crowd laughed. “I just drove around ‘til I found it.” That’s how he was the entire show, casual and down to earth, telling stories and making jokes between songs.
Though he’s known by many for his rock ‘n’ roll past with the bands The Nerves and The Plimsouls, Case has actually been releasing solo albums since 1986. That didn’t stop the crowd from yelling, “Plimsouls!” when he asked for requests about halfway through his set. He abided his fans’ wishes by playing an acoustic version of “Now,” off of the Plimsouls’ 1981 self-titled album.
The crowd at the Green Frog—made up mostly of people over 40 tapping their feet and swaying side to side—was full of long-term fans of Peter Case who were not happy with the noise coming from the 20-somethings by the bar. One man’s very audible, “Hey! Quiet down!” was met with a moment of silence, which let the whole bar know that stuff just got real.
Case played a variety of songs from many periods in his career, from the bluesy “House Rent Party” to the soft and folky “Ain’t Gonna Worry No More,” as well as a few covers, including Bob Dylan’s “Long Time Gone,” and Tom Russell’s “Beyond the Blues.”
Case is skilled on guitar, piano, and harmonica, which, accompanied by his round, sometimes smoky lows, his slightly nasal twang, and the beautifully vulnerable moments in some of his softer songs, makes for an incredibly versatile artist who cannot truly be categorized.
As the 17-song set came to a close, and people filtered through the front door and back to the bar, Case left us feeling nostalgic for moments that some of us haven’t even experienced. His encore song described the feeling the crowd seemed to share best: “We’ll all meet again at the end of a long, good time.”
–Taylor Sutton