Monday, 11 March 2013

Gig Review - Cat Power

 Cat Power
Live at The Tivoli, Brisbane (05/03/13)
Words and pics by Nayt Housman

Cat Power. Is she talented? Undoubtedly. Was she entertaining? Definitely. How was the show? Well... lets see.

She kept us waiting, not unusually long, so I assume it was for the sake of drama (or was she finishing a line of coke/bottle of whiskey/joint?) She warmed into her set with a cover of Phil Philips 'Sea of Love' which was, well, iffy at best. Voice cracks, wobbling, awkward dancing and sipping a cup of tea (I do love tea though). Then she announces "thanks for coming" and pretends to walk off stage (she commented "this will get me a bad review") Haha funny... is this what we're in for?


My last experience of seeing Cat Power was a whole show of iffiness (it's a word, trust me). The same scratchy vocals, not being able to hold her notes and just generally a bad performance, so my expectations weren't high to say the least. Warming into her second song 'The Greatest' was a little more comfortable to watch, though well received by the audience and I hoped she would begin to show us why we were there. By the third song 'Cherokee' (her lead single from her latest album 'Sun') I began to hear the smoky voiced, bluesy perfection and totally connected performance I was hoping for, until; she yawns. What?

In between joints/cigarettes coyly puffed on stage, bizarre moments of incoherence, monkey noises and nose picking, Cat Power managed to deliver some very convincing, solid tracks, with the backup of a new band. Once control was gained over her vocals, her animated delivery perfectly compliments songs like 'I Don't Blame You' which is one of several to get the "stripped back" treatment to give them new life. Finally, a cover of Roberta Flack's 'Angelitos Negros' was perhaps her most heartfelt and when she seemed most uninhibited (I think she was relieved it was her final song) it proved to be a highlight of the night. Though overall I couldn't help feeling that I was watching a rehearsal or perhaps karaoke night at the local pub with a live band.  At the end of the gig she showered her fans in roses and spent a good ten minutes signing autographs and chatting while her band was long gone off stage.

Was she polished? Not at all. Is that a bad thing? Well not totally. Forgiving the lack of consistency, her antics were hilarious in a good way and songs she delivered without distraction shone with a smokey, blues infused desperation and power.

This time round, Cat Power you have shown me you are at least an endearing and enigmatic performer with many interesting quirks. I was most impressed by your connection and interaction with your loyal fans, all of which make this the kind of performance I, for one reason or another, will be talking about for a while.

1 comment:

  1. She just did EXACTLY the same performance in London tonight, would have been so easy and so much more rewarding for the crowd and I think her to do a few more of the stripped back just her and the vocals type numbers, felt was really a missed opportunity!


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