Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Concert Review: Cat Power @ The Avalon, Hollywood

February 10th, 2009

I’ve never written a review for a live show performance. And I probably would have come a bit more prepared – and a whole lot less tipsy – had I known that this experience would be so amazing that I’d feel obligated to write about it. So I’ll just share some thoughts I had on the performance and the atmosphere of the show.

To kick things off, local band Fool’s Gold came through and rocked the house. Featuring my fellow Argentinean native Erica Garcia on percussion, the band played an extended – but incredibly worthwhile – opening set of tracks. These guys are a total trip, a diverse collective of musicians who could give Vampire Weekend a run for their money, both stylistically and qualitatively. Their multicultural roster and instrumentation makes for a rhythmical experience like no other - the lead singer was rockin’ out in Hebrew! After quickly scanning their Myspace page, I’ve discovered that they have not yet released an album. I hope that changes. Soon.

But the main event, of course, was the feisty feline herself: Cat Power. I can’t quite recall which song she started off her set with, and I certainly couldn’t list all the songs she played from that point onwards. But I can recollect the moments in the show which I felt were the true highlights. The powerful performance of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortune One” (which I remixed with CNN’s “Follow the Dollar” a couple months back) flowed seamlessly into the gut-wrenching “Metal Heart”, Jukebox’s re-tooled cover from 1998’s Moon Pix. Soon afterwards, her rendition of the sepulchral poesy that is “Blue” tore into the crowd like a dagger to the heart. And subsequently, “Song for Bobby”, her disconsolate petition to the great Bob Dylan, took on a physical form of its own.

I suppose I can stop kicking my ass because I’ve finally, after all these years of calling myself a “fan”, seen Cat Power perform live – at a great local venue no less. And with that being said, I can proceed to continue kicking my ass for not having seen her earlier. Exceptional show(o)manship doesn’t need to involve acrobatics or the excessive posturing that is so commonly put on display by today’s camera-conscious divas and pop stars. With an artist like Cat Power, her extended arms and clenched fists characterize the raw emotion she infuses with her music, lyrically and musically alike.

She finished her set with a cover of Roberta Flack’s Spanish-sung “Angelitos Negros” (written by Andres Eloy Blanco & Manuel Alvarez Maciste). To cap off the show, she lifted a bouquet from the stage, handing off individual flowers to members of the audience, front and back (I got one, I got one). It was a very special evening. She’ll be playing at The Avalon yet again tomorrow (well, today) evening. I suggest you check her out… I’ve always considered her to be one the greatest female vocalist/performers of this generation. This performance sealed the deal. Cat Power at The Avalon… what a night!

^ Chan and her amazing drummer Jim White. ^
(Photo taken by my RAZR... Yeah, I still rock the RAZR)...