I have seen Cat Power three times in the past, and after being totally wowed the first time I was under-whelmed with the next two, so I came into this show half expecting to be bored and ready to walk early, as I also had a ticket for Banyan w/ Mike Watt happening in a little bar a few blocks away.
But I did NOT walk early from this Cat Power show.
From the first moment of the first song I was COMPLETELY riveted with the subtle, smokey, bluesy, gritty, QUIET sound of Power and her small but brilliant band.
She had a bass player, a guitarist and an EXCELLENT drummer, and the show was simply great from start to finish.
The other times I've seen her she played right into her well known reputation for being extremely nervous, fidgety and easily distracted on stage, but on this night she was locked in, completely comfortable and confident, working as one with her great band, and the results were mesmerizing; she once again impressed me with her MAJOR star "power".
Cat Power simply can not stand still while performing; she twitches, shakes, shimmies, kicks, twists and spins along with every note that is played, and her light, wispy voice plays right along with that.
Her singing skills are not rooted in the power or range of her voice, but in her ability to use her voice as an instrument and phrase each word brilliantly, and in this quiet setting it worked perfectly.
I was continually reminded of a Tom Waits performance in style and sound (except that her voice is about as opposite of Waits as could be imagined); the music was so measured and subtle, with every note making a point. This was grown-up music.
Which brings me to my only complaint about the show. For the most part the near-capacity audience was quiet and respectful of the music, but there were quite a few groups of younger people there (20 somethings are "younger" to me) and it was clear that many of these people weren't expecting this type of show, and they simply had to have long, loud conversations about everything important (or not) happening in their lives.
At this show even a little talking could be heard across the room, but with some effort I was able to avoid most of that, so on this night a few shallow young bar-rats couldn't ruin the show.
I'm really happy I decided to go to this great performance, and I can say once again that I am a big Cat Power fan. I'm already looking forward to the next time I get to see her.
(And I still caught an hour of Banyan; THEY ROCKED!!!)
Cat Power and Banyan in one night! That sounds like a great night out! Thanks for the great review, Lance!
Hey Lance glad you made it to Banyan. I was the one that posted the link to the cheapie tickets.
Any chance you could post a review for the Banyan show?
Was this McFadden's first show with them?
I saw them at Red Devil with the Watt/Cline lineup a little over a year ago and they rocked it. Bobby Vega was in the house, with his axe, but sadly didn't sit in for some reason.
Yeah Brian, thanks for that heads up on the dollar ticket, I wouldn't have gone otherwise.
I don't know if this was McFadden's first show with Banyan or not, but it was the first time I've seen him where I REALLY liked him. I was amazed at how good and tight he was with them, weaving his way in and out of the jams, sometimes playing really hard and sometimes really goovy and subtle. He was really good.
There was also a sax player I didn't know, but he was good as well and added more color to the sound.
I was impressed with how tight it was; in past Banyan shows I've seen it all tends to get frantic and a bit sloppy even when it's good, but this was GROOVING when I walked in. I think I missed about half the show, but everything I saw was tight and trippy, Perkins was fucking great as always and Mike Watt RULED the stage!!!
Plus I swear the last "song" they played was a bare-bones version of Cold Rain & Snow!
Needless to say, this was the type of night I love.
Cool, thanks for sharing, and glad you made it to the show.
I think McFadden is a great guitarist but I'm not a huge fan of his singing/songwriting. I really wish I could have seen him in this context, I think it would have showcased his best qualities. Any tapers in the house?
>>>Any tapers in the house?<<<
I didn't notice any, but I'd bet another dollar there were.