October 22, 2007
Better Than: Finding out Syd Barrett still sings in honky tonks.
The Review: The last time I caught Cat Power at Studio A, it was just her, her pain, her anger and her keyboard – and a crowd of about 300. Last night, on the same stage, the crowd was doubled, the keys were played by a man who came as part of a band, the anger had become pure joy and the pain, well, the pain became something to shout about.
And smile. See, the new Chan Marshall has ditched the melancholy brood which made her infamous and – dare I say it? – seems actually quite happy to be alive. Chalk it up to sobriety, credit it to the loot she must be making from De Beers and Chanel, or blame it on the Dirty Delta Blues band that now backs her up. But whatever’s responsible for Edition ’07, please give it a round of applause.
That’s what everybody did last night, and with every mass clap our girl Chan jumped even higher, smiled even wider and sang even louder and prouder than ever.
With a set that ran the gamut of her formerly careening career and really made much of The Greatest – and made much of The Greatest explicitly triumphant – Chan strutted her stuff so that we might strut too. “Lived in Bars” and “Living Proof” gave great life, “Metal Heart” mended everybody’s core, and that wickedly blessed title track I mentioned above, got me agog all over again.
My own personal highlight though was Cat Power’s rerendering of The Stones’ classic “Satisfaction” back into the robust roar it was meant for. Unlike the song’s previous bleakening on The Covers Record (upon which many I night I pined), last night’s retrofit put the kitten known as Cat into a place I’d suspected she belonged all along – on the happy side of our hearts. – John Hood
Personal Bias: I dig chicks I can look up to.
Random Detail: Not a soul left till the whole show was over.
By the Way: Cat Power’s second covers record is coming out in January.