Image via Tiger Pixel
Kate and I saw the amazing Cat Power perform on Friday at The Fillmore in San Francisco. AKA Charlyn or Chan Marshall, she was gorgeous in both voice and person. It was the first time I’d seen her live, and I had read about her pre-sober difficulties on stage. But that’s clearly in her past. She charmed us with her humble and generous stage presence, and she was evidently tuned into her audience. A few songs into the show she alerted security that an someone had collapsed — I couldn’t help thinking she wouldn’t have noticed the incident pre-sobriety.
She wore brown rocker boots, black skinny jeans, a black t shirt, black blazer and a lot of black eyeliner. She’s one of the few women who can make a ponytail look hot. I didn’t know until my inevitable, obsessive Cat Power Googling session the following day that she is a fellow Bob Dylan fanatic, and that she has a fashion background that overlaps with Karl himself, who has declared his love and threw her a surprise birthday party. She played at Chanel shows in 2006 and 2007.
Her voice is every bit as enchanting live — more, actually — as it is in recordings. Her self-conscious demeanor surprised me. She shifted her weight side side to side, occasionally grabbing at the hem of her jacket or swinging a heel side to side, toe of her boot pressed to the stage. She brought to mind a red-haired fifth grade classmate who fidgeted similarly while waiting in the lunch line. Except that Cat Power’s every move was in perfect rhythm.
She was accompanied by the Dirty Delta Blues band, with the super-sexy Judah Bauer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (a band I was obsessed with in the 90s) on guitar. His slicked back mullet and mostly denim attire channeled a rockabilly god. Gregg Foreman of The Delta 72 was on keyboards (and at one point simply snapped his fingers into the microphone) looked super mod in skinny black jeans and a young Rod Stewart haircut. The drummer, Jim White, was a gray-haired gentleman whose outfit I can’t recall but his hair was unforgettably and awesomely wild. Erik Paparazzi was on bass (sorry I don’t remember a thing about his appearance!).
They played my favorite Cat Power song (Good Woman), my second favorite (Song to Bobby), a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, and several songs from her forthcoming album. See the entire set list here. As she paced up and down the stage I was grateful she’d literally cleaned up her act so she could share her talent (and style!) at a live show. And just to kick my girl crush into overdrive, to wrap up the prformance she delicately passed single flowers to audience members from a giant bouquet as the Dirty Delta Blues accompanied her with I Don’t Blame You.