Tuesday 26th February, 2013 – Review by Kelly Wong.
Photos by Jasmine Eales.
Chan Marshall, otherwise known as CAT POWER, has the kind of depth in her music that can only come from many years of writing and with 18 years up her sleeve, Cat Power is awe-inspiring musician. With popular tracks like: ‘The Greatest’, ‘Living Proof’, ‘Sea of Love’, ‘Cherokee’ and even a cover of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’. Needless to say, her raw and outspoken music has divided critics, though one thing is for sure, Cat Power takes you on a journey from soul, to punk, to folk and blues encompassing the dark, light and 50 shades in between.
On a balmy Sunday night the audience filled the Chevron Festival Gardens for one of the most anticipated shows of the 2013 Perth Festival. As the excitement grew, a female guitarist strolls out on stage and starts strumming out chords, building the crowds anticipation as they wait patiently for Cat Power to arrive. Two percussionists walk on stage, followed by another musician, who later plays the piano and the guitar. Finally, after a long build up Cat Power’s face appear as she graces the stage to belt out a slow rendition of ‘The Greatest’. Almost instantly the crowd’s raucous cheering falls to deathly silence as everyone in the venue begins to listen intently to the familiar voice. Combined with the full moon overhead, this night was certainly shaping up to be a magical and unique experience.
As bright stage lights synched to the music come on display, Cat Power wastes no time belting out the good tunes as she sings the first five songs without so much as a word to the Audience. Nobody seemed to mind though as the songstress goes on to sing popular favourite ‘Cherokee’ – the audience now swaying along completely mesmerised by the singer’s gritty and soulful voice as she gives each lyric everything she’s got.
In typical Cat Power fashion things take a turn to the darker side we hear some more edgy and aggressive numbers which are no doubt influenced by a variety of stages in her personal life. It’s that raw emotion that Cat Power taps into that gives her both a lyrical and sonic strength that barrels right down deep into the mic and out to the crowd. Though it feels like a bit of a lull in the set from her most popular songs, the howling coming from deep within Marshall is still somewhat soothing. There’s an unspoken appreciation as the audience watches her, totally mesmerised by the music and accompanying video images playing behind. Finishing her last note while stopping for a breath, Marshall croaked “Thanks for coming out” – her few words were clearly more about saving her breath in aid of her continuing to belt out a few more tunes.
Musically, the mixture of dramatic piano and heavy percussion that the band thumps out made for a magical night, as the drums, guitar and Marshall’s voice compete for attention. Suddenly, the mood changes to easy listening, and people are groovin’ along to the bluesy ‘Nothin’ but time’, a track off the ‘Sun’ album which featured the legendary Iggy Pop.
Marshall now takes moment to introduce the band as well as making a short speech suggesting she hasn’t played her best show, but reassuring the audience of her love for Australia and the crowd. Adoring fans scream her name in appreciation and it’s evident that her loyal fan base has her back. The crowd becomes increasingly more encouraging and as she finishes with ‘Ruin’, off her latest album, Marshall woos the crowd back into her soulful embrace. Cheers echo around the venue as she hits her last note and the gratitude of a good show is evident, and although Marshall clearly hasn’t met her own high expectations she shows her appreciation by throwing stems from a bouquet into the crowd as a thank you.