Saturday, August 27, 2011

Photos/Review: Cat Power @ Webster Hall

Cat Power @ Webster Hall - August 26, 2011

Photos: Chris / Review: Debbie Chou

Those who follow Cat Power know that she is notorious for her erratic onstage behavior. When I saw her solo performance in Taipei during the summer of 2004, she would cut her songs short and drunkenly ramble to the audience. But at Webster Hall on Friday night, she shined with the support of the Dirty Delta Blues Band both musically and emotionally. Chan Marshall was free to sway onstage and freed from the spotlight (I mean that literally—Chris could barely get good shots of her due to dim stage lighting). The first set consisted of mostly newer songs. A few of them were laid-back and bluesy, “Settin’ On A Ruin” was a surprisingly upbeat dance tune, yet all of them heartbreaking with her sultry, soulful voice.

Fans of Marshall also know that she is a sorceress at covering songs, including her own. She closed the first set with an almost unrecognizable version of “The Greatest.” Mallets and an organ drone replaced the drumsticks and piano chords on the recording we are familiar with. It started serenely and then slowly built up to an explosive climax.

After a looped electric sitar-like drone during a brief intermission, the band returned to the stage and opened with a slow, minor three-chord progression. I immediately guessed it was either “Bela Lugosi Is Dead” or “Blue Monday” but I was wrong—it was ironically The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Chan requested the house lights to be turned on before she closed with “I Don’t Blame You,” which was no longer a piano tune in a minor key. It became a rather uplifting, two-chord blues ballad that ended with a full on jam by the amazing Dirty Delta Blues Band.

Her signature bangs were swept to the side. She curtsied and bowed to her cheering fans. There was no bantering or mid-song interruption coming from Chan Marshall; only gratitude, flashing smiles, and a heartfelt performance.


Check out a set of photos below, as well as some YouTube videos of the performance shot by slideonethis...