Cat Power: All the World's A Stage

Cat Power
San Francisco, CA
February 4, 2011

Cat Power: All the World's A Stage

Cat Power appeared once before on MV&R when I occasioned the desire to see her perform in a a smaller venue than the outsized, outdoor festival setting at Outside Lands. And now, la, here she is at the Fillmore. I suppose this is the smallest venue that she could play given the demand for tickets at this sold-out show. I would prefer even one step smaller for Cat Power's quiet bluesy minimalist music.

Cat Power is the stage name for Chan Marshall. Her performance last Friday at the Fillmore reminded me a bit of the review I did for Ray Lamontagne a couple years back. She is an interesting performer since she often appears so distinctly self-conscious on stage. This may also be the source for her renowned reputation for mercurial performances, storming off the stage after a couple songs, abandoning the band mid-song, etc. She did make it all the way through the concert at the Fillmore but rarely faced the audience. She spent most of the concert facing stage-left. She also made random and unexpected, almost bird-like, gestures that seemed out of time with the song.

For me, it made the show even more captivating and made me think of a Cat as an individual rather than a performer on stage which also led to other ruminations about the performances we all make in our daily lives and the different roles we play: son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father, friend, colleague. Each is a different person. I got the feeling that Chan Marshall is the same person off stage as Cat Power is on-stage. And I think this combined with her tremendous voice and good looks only endears her more to her fans.

Cat Power's breathy and sultry voice is seductive and powerful and she surrounds herself with talented musicians. However, her live arrangements do not differ very much from her recorded efforts. Still, hearing live music always adds a new perspective to a favorite song and I enjoyed the concert. Here are a few tunes to check out: The Moon, New York, New York, Lived in Bars, Metal Heart.

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