Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cat Power @Town Hall, June 10th

NOTE: I've decided to open a account so I can spruce up these blog entries with random pictures I take.

Tonight, caught the amazing Cat Power (Chan Marshall) at Town Hall. The ticket karma continues to flow -- grabbed 4th row center when they went on sale (hence the pretty decent photos on my shitty camera) and took dear Shana to sit with me.

Now, Chan's live reputation preceded her. Cat Power was supposed to play earlier this year at Town Hall but cancelled her tour mysteriously. In fact, I had a sweet pair for that show as well, and was gonna take the Britta for Valentine's Day, but we won't dwell on that...

So who knew what was gonna happen this go-around. Her latest album, The Greatest, is gorgeous and was recorded with the Memphis Rhythm Band -- a few members of which played with Al Green in the '70s. The stage was filled with musicians -- several guitars, horns, strings, drums, bass, piano, organ, and even backup singers. When they started playing without the lady of the moment through one instrumental and then another, I got a little nervous. Was Chan gonna pull a no-show?

But she did not disappoint -- she bounded out for the title track and the crowd went mad. The focus of the evening was on the latest cd. Her voice was lush, haunting, aching, delicate. She seemed fidgety or maybe suffering from a slight case of a.d.d. at times, fussing with her hair constantly or her rings. Her dancing bordered on goofy -- she flapped her arms like a chicken and flopped around her thin limbs. But it was all too charming. She seemed genuinely happy to be performing this second sold out night in front of the New York crowd.

And as she progressed through the songs, she gradually warmed up and became slightly chatty, at one point commenting how this was her sober. There was even a costume change. She started off the evening with a simple black tank, black pants, a gold medallion on a chain around her neck. After the last song of the main set -- "Where is My Love" and god, it was so beautiful, I almost cried -- she returned to the stage in a white cocktail dress and big silver hoop earrings, which she almost immediately removed from her ears. She was barefoot the whole time, too. The best was when she unabashedly kept adjusting her little white dress pausing at times to pull a wedgie. Utterly kooky and charming!

While the main set was absolutely beautiful, the encore songs made it completely worth it. She played a few songs solo either on piano or guitar, including a gorgeous cover of "House of the Rising Sun." Then, the full band returned and accompanied her once again.

I didn't know what to expect from a live performance by Cat Power, having heard that she could be crap live. After tonight, I'm totally hooked -- I loved her so much, I even begged for a setlist, ended up with two, and also copies of one of the musician's notes featuring the chord progressions of some of the songs. Awesome.

PS -- spotted her Matador labelmates, Yo La Tengo, as well as David Byrne there in the audience. Sweet!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! Any chance I can get the full-size jpegs of those notes at the end with the chord progression? I'm working on a book on The Greatest and they'd be so great to include. I'll credit you for the photos of course! zpace @ gm. slc. edu