Review: Cat Power cleaned up a mess at Grand Central

By | October 12th, 2012 | No Comments
Cat Power at Grand Central

Touring behind Sun, Cat Power gave a mostly messy performance at Grand Central. — All photos by @alexbroadwell

Thursday night, Miami resident Chan Marshall performed at a packed Grand Central as Cat Power in support of her new album, Sun.

Opening act Addiquit, a hip-hop songstress from California, took the stage first, wearing knee-high pink-striped socks to match her synth-laden poppy beats. After one song, she reacted to a slow response from the crowd with “Hold the fuck up! That song is dope.” She paced around the stage feverishly while rapping until about 9:30, at which point she asked if we were ready for Cat Power. The excited reply drew a playfully sarcastic “I love y’all too” from Addiquit.

Just before 10, Cat Power’s backing band took the stage and jammed over the loud murmur of a chatty crowd. A blonde Marshall finally joined them five minutes later, placed a tall candle in the center of the stage, and catapulted from the slow jam into a blistering rendition of “Cherokee” from Sun.

Marshall sang over a previously recorded track of her own vocals. This initially became most noticeable during “Human Being” when Marshall would just not sing or sing away from the microphone during some parts of the song. Between songs she mumbled, sometimes too far from the microphone to hear, and her band mates looked a bit concerned at times. Frankly, she seemed drunk. A few times she crouched in the corner of the stage for a minute. During “Silent Machine” she strapped on a guitar, which she alternated between playing and miming playing motions. She then asked for the house lights to be turned on, then gratefully exclaimed “Oh my God,” when she saw the enormous crowd.

Cat Power at Grand Central II

Despite (or maybe because of) the strange antics, which were tough to watch at times, the fans seemed behind her 100 percent. They sang along with the backing track and sometimes with Marshall, cheered loudly, and shouted words of encouragement like “You can do it!” One girl yelled “Take your headset off,” after apparently determining that Marshall’s headset monitor was the cause of her singing problems. I suspect otherwise.

The low point of the show came toward the end. Marshall started talking during the last 20 seconds or so of “Nothing but Time” while her band was still playing, and after the song was finished announced she had to use the restroom. “I’ll be back in two seconds. Two piss-onds.” Before going to the bathroom, she brought Addiquit onto the stage for an impromptu cover of Joy Division’s “Atmosphere”, which itself lasted two seconds. Marshall’s band then started jamming to bide the time, and two seconds turned into about 10 minutes. The crowd largely stuck around for this break with only a few groups of people deciding they had seen enough and heading out.

Cat Power at Grand Central III

Marshall finally returned at 11:10 and closed the set with a surprisingly great performance of “Ruin”, a single from Sun. The crowd was completely into it and Marshall redemptively nailed her performance, singing the whole thing well and getting the crowd dancing. Afterward, she held a candle and told the audience, “I’d like to say fucking thank you,” a couple of times before ending the set despite the keyboardist’s suggestion that they continue. She stood at the back of the stage and excitedly joined the fans in a “One more song” chant before perhaps wisely exiting for good, on a legitimately impressive high note.

Setlist

— Cherokee
— Sun
— 3, 6, 9
— Human Being
— King Rides
— Manhattan
— Silent Machine
— Back in the Day
— Nothing But Time
— Atmosphere
— Ruin

Alex Broadwell is a North Carolina native, photographer, and video dude who currently lives in Miami. To view his work, visit alexbroadwell.virb.com.



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