Review: Cat Power at Gothic Theatre, 11/23/13
CAT POWER at GOTHIC THEATRE | 11/23/12
It was somewhere around an hour between the end of opener Nico Turner's set and the beginning of the Cat Power set. By the time Chan Marshall took the stage, some people seemed to be getting restless. Marshall more than made up for any kind of delay, though, with a generous selection of songs and a solid, charming, powerful delivery from the beginning. Even her covers, in which she altered to suit her imagination -- particularly on songs like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," where she changed the words slightly to fit in with her particular cadence and style -- were compelling and she effectively made them her own. Unless you knew it was a Stones song, it was not easy at all to tell.
The first part of the set featured Marshall playing what looked like a Danelectro guitar with a Les Paul style body. At times, her tones had a burnished melancholy vibe to them suggesting loneliness and spaciousness. In others, the sounds were sparkly and even spiky like some old blues guitar feel to it. Once Marshall got comfortable, she joked with the crowd, but even before then, she was effusive in thanking folks for coming out and supporting her music.
It was a bit like a kid discovering it was okay to be doing this thing that's scary but completely normal and then testing the waters to see what the parameters of the evening might be. But people were pretty enthusiastic, so Marshall had nothing to worry about there. Before one of the songs, she seemed to be getting increasingly more comfortable, joking, "I love all you intelligent ass people. Your asses are intelligent." But then, as she sat at the piano for the next part of her show, she seemed more self-conscious and kept asking us if we were mad at her. If for whatever reason anyone did happen to be mad, they were certainly in the minority and handily drowned out by the vast majority of people who were most definitely not upset.
There was also more than a bit of Marshall's idiosyncratic sense of humor throughout the set. In the middle of one song, Marshall clicked the two microphones together and said, "I just made them touch four times." After that song, someone yelled loudly that Marshall was pretty. She just smiled and said, "I'm old. I'm happily old," before clarifying that she's middle aged.