Cat Power

Vogue, Vancouver, BC, November 2

> > Nov 03 2012

Cat Power - Vogue, Vancouver, BC, November 2
Photo: Caily DiPuma
By Alan RantaThe reputation of Cat Power's live set precedes her, with Chan Marshall's history of unsanitary and insane stage antics rivalling the likes of Anton Newcombe and Mark E. Smith.

As is often the case, Cat Power went on late. About 35 minutes after Marshall and co. were supposed to go on, the lights dimmed and Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" played in its entirety. After the recording had completed, still no one was onstage. A few moments of self-reflection later, the band finally started shuffling out, making sure to take another minute to tune, adjust candles and incense, and allow Marshall time to receive a bouquet of flowers from the front row, crinkle it around while mumbling something about love and, at long last, take her place at the mic.

From the moment go, Marshall appeared confused and uncomfortable. She moved awkwardly, grasping at her necklace, pulling her jacket closed, slapping her leg offbeat, and occasionally twitching peculiar moves like Mick Jagger with a degenerative nerve disease. Her earpiece fell out early, and a couple songs in, she picked up a guitar, which she then accidentally unplugged while trundling about. She bent down to plug it back in, and her shoulder strap fell off as she got back up, leading her to shuffle to the back of the stage to diddle around with her back to the crowd until the song was over. It seemed as though she gave up on all of her songs by the end, wandering away from the mic to guzzle from a water bottle while her band finished up.

Granted, her four-piece band was okay, with fairly stunning visuals moving between projections and a variety of synched lighting cues, and there were occasional moments of worthiness. The intro to the set was a slow-building version of the title track from 2006's The Greatest, taking it from sombre symphonic musing into more prog-rock territory, and for a moment, it seemed as though the wait would be worth it.

But this hope was immediately dashed by "Cherokee" from her recent electronic-rock effort Sun, the song's eagle squall even more piercing and unnecessary live than on record. The group would go on to play most of Cat Power's latest album, complete with all its tacky digital effects.

Yet Marshall's presence was unsettling, and her vocals showed the strain of years of substance abuse. The choice of Bob Dylan as an intro seemed apt in retrospect, as this felt very much like seeing Dylan in his transition years between his raw, nasally youth and the incoherent croak he's abused audiences with since.
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Take it easy on Bobby D, he's a legend. Cat Power sounds far from being a legend, other than in her own mind, perhaps.
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All due respect to Dylan, for sure. I refer to his raw, nasally youth with affection. I'm a big fan of Cat Power's pre-Sun work as well.
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The Cat Power show was the best I have ever seen! Amazing! I don't think we were at the same show. Comments you made were your opinion and yours alone. What I experienced was a very intimate and beautiful performance and I was left wanting more!
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Starting 35 minutes late and taking a few moments to get settled in at the start of a set is hardly grounds for criticism. Yes she's a bit quirky onstage, but does it matter? The backing band was excellent and her vocals were fantastic. The sound and lights were also very well done. The only "tacky" parts of the evening were the attention-seeking members of the audience who couldn't help themselves from yelling out ignorant between-song comments at the artist like "Please play something old!" Was that you Alan? If you don't like the new album then maybe don't attend the tour that is supporting it. Or at least don't complain when the new material is played. Artists evolve, and that includes aging.
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ChrissyM you're nuts. I've been a huge catpower fan for a long time..this concert was just a display of her falling apart, adapting a new persona and overall covering up a talented real girl. Granted she has had a tough streak..but the album was just a reflection of this. Her previous albums and performances had much more meaning to them, heart breaking vocals that made you feel. All this concert did was confuse me with the props and blind me with the highly unnecessary "flashing" lights.
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What a dumb review , what's more is why is it failed musicians / artists always critique ? How about next we review your "body of work" , your new "album" and see how if that floats ? My guess would be that you getting paid for your lackluster opinions is a blessing . This show was good and if you are going to see a cat power show , perhaps you have an idea that it will be different then say a perfectly rehearsed pop review . . . Have you ever seen Suicide ? She been working on Sun for years , it ain't no new persona in fact the gent above had it right when he says ; "The only "tacky" parts of the evening were the attention-seeking members of the audience who couldn't help themselves from yelling out ignorant between-song comments at the artist like "Please play something old!" Was that you Alan? If you don't like the new album then maybe don't attend the tour that is supporting it. Or at least don't complain when the new material is played. Artists evolve, and that includes aging." Period ...
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blah blah blah - those who were there know what they saw, and it was a stunning show. pity the suckers who just want to imagine some myth-making shattered soul. marshall was fully together and played a brilliant show. why is it if you see a dude slugging a bottle of JD he is somehow "cool", while someone else who is clean and clear, fully giving themselves to the audience and the music gets this shit review? get it together exclaim, and hire some worthy writers. this one sucks.
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New Cat Power sucks. Hate to say it but she was better when she was an alkie.
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