Thursday, September 14, 2006

Your hair was wild, your eyes were bright, and you were in a rage.

[Image from Pitchfork]

Last night I went to see Cat Power with the Memphis Rhythm Band and ohmygod it was such a great show. I was really nervous about the show considering her notorious reputation for having mini-breakdowns not finishing songs, and walking offstage. She didn't come out until almost an hour after the show was supposed to start, so I assumed things were going to be really awkward and weird. Luckily, she performed really well. Her voice is amazing live, and she's surprisingly really alive and charismatic on stage, skipping and dancing between verses and posing for audience members with cameras. There were a few moments where she started songs over (the most noticeable was during "The Greatest" - the first song - where she sang a verse and decided that the violins had to be louder so the whole band stopped for about two minutes while the sound guys fixed the settings).
I was expecting her to play just the new stuff with the full band, which she did, but then they left and she sat on stage for a good forty-five minutes and performed a solo set, featuring mostly covers ("Wild is the Wind," "Wolf Among Wolves," "I Found a Reason," "House of the Rising Sun") and a few older tunes. She spent about fifteen minutes chatting with us, talking about her six-inch-heels that her friend gave her ("He's a small queen," she said. "He's not a big enough queen to wear heels. Don't they look good? You can't even tell I'm a man!") and Arrested Development. After someone shouted out that he had a request, she started listening to what the audience wanted to hear, responding with, "No, I don't do those any more. Too depressing!"
When the band came back ("They are getting bored back there!"), they played a song without her, and when she came back out they played this amazing version of "Cross Bones Style" combined with a verse and the chorus from "Nude as the News." When the band members started playing it she looked like she really didn't want to sing it, but she really gave it her all and it sounded amazing. After a really powerful version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Chan did a cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (which seems to be a staple at most indie-rock shows these days). I had to leave around then, but my friend later told me that she played another twenty minutes, organizing a line dance with her bandmates and playing some new songs before The Man finally told her she had to wrap it up.
It was an amazing experience to get to see her perform live. I've seen very few concerts where the performers really put a lot of emotional effort into their performance. Chan Marshall really blew me away, and I'd recommend that if you're a Cat Power fan, it's definitely worth seeing her live.

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