As the marmalade sun set on Battery Park, deep in the bowels on Manhattan
Thursday night, Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) played a free
show for more than 700 fans, bringing the term “soft rock core” to life.
Marshall, backed by a full band with everything from violin and
5-year-old girl who randomly sang along, pounded kids over the head with her
trademark serenades, fueled by raw emotion and shear beauty. A cross between
Janis Joplin and Hope Sandoval, Marshall wore a long sleeve
flanel shirt, blue jeans, and dark circle glasses that would make John
Lennon say “hey that’s my look” (in that stereotypical Liverpool accent
ofcourse). The sound was pristine, the faithful were drooling, lady liberty
was listening in from Staten Island, and “Ranger Jim” informed us that
Castle Clinton (the evening’s venue) used to be a real castle used a in war
back in the day…before they installed the Coca Cola machines and tourist
trap souvenier shop ofcourse.
Quietly raging through tracks from her latest piece of gold, You Are
Free, Marshall doesn’t have the greatest on stage presence.
There’s no flash like Michael Jackson or even dry wit like Thom
Yorke…I think she just wants to play and then retreat back to her
sanctuary cave. In between songs she began to, um, well let’s just say “free
associate” her sentences which were only understood by Gleptar Nabali the
14th studio commander of the bizarre Shangazoo Alley…exactly, none of it
made any sense. I had heard that the girl likes to get her “freak out” on
during live shows, and this one, albeit beautiful with music, was definitely
one of the kookiest performances ever…but who doesn’t want kooky?
Towards the end of the divine set (which lasted about an hour and a half)
the covers came off, and we all held hands and jumped into a giant pool of
fucking fun. “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones was first, which was
interrupted by a brief “ding-dong noone’s home” abrupt halt by
Marshall, who decided she needed to leave the stage as quickly as
possible. She returned seconds later, but I stil have no idea what the fuck
was going on in her head. Then the gang of gentle players ripped (seriously
ripped) into “Dead Leaves On The Dirty Ground” by the White Stripes,
followed by “Black Sabbath” from, well, I forget who sang that song as the
name escaped me right now. That Black Sabbath song was king. Closing
out the covers portion of our rollercoaster ride was “Knocking On Heaven’s
Door,” which wasn’t as good as the version layed down by Axl and the
boys, but it topped of a truly marvelous set by one of the most intriguing
musicians alive today.
Call her crazy, call her genuis (but someone, please call her, she bought
this new phone and she is dying to try it out) Chan Marshall is
extraordinarily talented. Her piercing vocals soothes even the savage beast,
as her slow southern warmth lights up the soul. It was a great evening of
quality music that makes for perfect memories.
Source: Jason Anfinsen