CAT POWER- Union Chapel. 11th November 2014.

12 11 2014



There are many ways to celebrate getting old. There is crying into your  pillow, enjoying some whiskey or my favourite- seeing a band/singer you love. An early (day before) birthday present to me was a ticket to see Cat Power last night at one of London’s most gorgeous venues. Union Chapel is down the road from me, which is pretty cool. It is a venue that could make the most horrendous singers sound amazing. But for the likes of Cat Power, it just shows how brilliant they are.

Previous to this show Chan had canceled a few due to being sick, however if I could sing the way she did last night when I’m sick then I’d be bloody happy. She means to me what the likes of Patti, Bobby, Morrissey and Lou mean to me. She’s someone who can put across what I think/feel better than I can. She’s got a beautifully brutal way with words. Her honesty is gorgeous and endearing. How someone couldn’t be a fan of hers, I have no idea.

Her songs for the most part flowed right into each other. She went way back with some of her songs, and for me hearing Great Expectations (second record, Myra Lee) was perfect. I saw her in 2008 and it was around the time Jukebox was released. Her set consisted of songs from that record and The Greatest. To hear some older songs last night was amazing. She started her set on guitar. Just Chan and a guitar. She seemed to be quite nervous and unsure, but as she made her way to the piano, everything fell into place. She came alive and her beautiful sense of humour came out. If Chan ever packs in music,  I sincerely hope she goes into comedy as her sense of humour is wonderful. Her laugh is infectious. When she starts, you go with her.  She’s delicate when she speaks, and when she sings you pick up on the hope and strength in her voice that comes from a dark place. She got through some bad shit, and she’s still around. I know people look up to others far too easily, but hand on heart- she’s one of my idols.

Although it is obvious in her lyrics she’s a fantastic storyteller, it becomes much clearer when she tells stories to the audience ranging from her cracking her head open to creating a single-mum house cleaning device to Instagram blocking her. Her humour always shines through, and she’s someone you really couldn’t tire from listening to. She just leaves you in awe. She really has that Patti Smith quality about her. It is so rare to find, but Chan truly has it.

At the end of the show, she is greeted with  a message from an iPad that reads END. Maybe from an iPad, or maybe from some god telling us all to get out. She played 2 seconds of 3 songs including my beloved Metal Heart. She finds humour in everything, and you know, from all the struggles she has had it was bloody wonderful to see her on that stage smiling and joking. At the piano, she said something along the lines of “I’m just happy to be having fun for one minute.” Moments like this make the setlist seem like a minor thing. She fell in love with piano at Union Chapel, and although she seemed mad at herself for forgetting some notes/songs, she played it beautifully.

If you’ve read about Chan’s shows you’ll see how people said she can be hit or miss. She apologised a lot last night for getting things wrong, but I didn’t care. I don’t think anyone in the room did. All that mattered was that Chan felt well enough to play for just over 2 hours last night. It felt like a real private moment, and one anyone who was there will remember for a long time. For me, I’ll remember the stories she told and not the songs she played. Her presence on stage is hypnotic. She’s a woman who stands for everything the world lacks and needs- peace, love, compassion and freedom. She has the bravery to speak up and to be honest. Her songs are vulnerable which is what makes her so easy to fall in love with. Seeing her in such an open place (I guess you could say vulnerable) last night made the songs carry even more weight. I held back some tears as she softly played I Don’t Blame You.

I’ve probably missed out a bunch of things, but I can safely say this is one of the greatest (sorry…) shows I’ve ever been to. Her music gives you hope and her words are a comfort blanket. The Greatest made me teary eyed and hearing Hate so clearly was something I”ll always treasure. She could sing the phonebook with just a guitar and it would make me cry. She’s powerful and I really don’t think she understands just how inspirational she truly is. Last night’s show is one I’ll remember for a long time, but then again, you don’t really forget seeing your heroes. I think hearing seeing Maybe Not was the moment I let some tears fall. That song along with Metal Heart are my favourites by Chan. I love how open they sound and how safe they make you feel. The lyrics to Maybe Not are so pure and gorgeous, I wish I could write something as brave as that.

Also, one last thing- her friend and guitarist, Nico Turner opened for her. Listen to her music. She’s on the same level as Chan. Her cover of Something In The Way by Nirvana is brilliant.

Cat Power-Cherokee (video.)

17 09 2012

“Feels like time is on my time. Bury me upside down.”

Chan Marshall isn’t just a singer. The woman is a beautiful voice who makes art that just, well, it is good for the soul. She pours out every emotion you’re probably afraid to feel. She exposes vulnerability in a way that you wish you could. I remember hearing Metal Heart (original version) and just sobbing. I sobbed as if someone had told me someone I loved had died. My heart broke, but pieces were mended because finally- someone got it. Finally someone was unleashing all these ugly feelings for me. Her music isn’t something you play in the background, it is something you feel. You truly connect with her. She breaks your heart and makes you believe in every single word. Much like Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith. She is on that level.

Her new record, Sun is on a par with You Are Free. You Are Free is my favourite record by her. The artwork alone is just stunning. The video to Cherokee is nothing short of wonderful, and was directed by Cat. I hope this brings her new fans who truly appreciate the genius and beauty that is, Cat Power.

Cat Power.

28 09 2011

My love for Chan Marshall began sometime in 2000, I think. I think that was the year. All I know is that I was listening to John Peel under the covers with the light out because I should’ve been asleep. Thing is, I did this with every John Peel show but my mum never told me off. She knew how much I idolised John Peel.

Chan Marshall aka Cat Power’s voice was like nothing I had ever heard. So relaxing but full of so much feeling. Her songs were so vulnerable and her voice trembling on certain songs made you really feel what she was singing.

I hold her song Metal Heart very dear to me. I do favour the Moon Pix version more than the Jukebox version, but that’s because it sounds much darker. If it sounds dark and tormented, I’ll love it. Not in a sick, twisted way; but in a way that makes it easy to relate to.

I own all of Cat Power’s records, and I think, as hard as it is to decide; You Are Free is my favourite record. I adore the album cover, with the picturesque album artwork just gives off the freedom feel to it which ties in with the album title. You listen to the album and you do feel so weightless, so free. Any good record will make you that way. Any good record will take you to a higher plain.

Her music is tormenting, romantic, dark, hurtful, loving, longing; it is just everything, and more. There are so many layers to her sound. I find her to be one of the most charming and alluring singers to have ever existed. She has this quality about her that makes you want to just sit with her and discuss the world. You also feel honoured to have heard her music. It is so rich but pure. All the greats seem to have battled with their own personal demons, from Billie Holiday to Jimi Hendrix. Cat Power is no stranger.

Most are aware of her battle with various substances (drink and drugs.) And her fight with her demons, no one is ever in a place to judge another with how they deal with their battles. We’ve all got our own demons to fight off. You do, I do; no one is exempt. However, Cat Power didn’t let it beat her. Her live performances did suffer for a time. Performances would be cut short or cancelled last minute. This was around 2006. In 2008, I saw her live. The venue held around 250 people maybe a hundred more, but it was tiny. I was finally seeing my favourite singer live, and I will not deny that I had a bit of fear that she would cancel or walk off stage halfway through the gig. Luckily, this was the time she was finally sorted. Her new album, Jukebox had come out and things were looking up. When she sang Metal Heart I felt that a part of me had been found. There is something indescribable about seeing the song that saved you live. It just does something to you that nothing or no one else ever could. I will never forget that gig; I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her band is truly stunning, what I love about them is that they are real, raw musicians. They do it for the music, and the sheer love they have for it.

Her music is one I cannot go a day without playing. It brings confidence and hope, it creates feelings no other could give. It is beyond music, it is a force. One thing Cat Power is known for is her covers. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of covers, I really do have a soft spot for Cat’s covers. She takes the original and just adds this sensitive and earthy feel to it. I adore her cover of the Velvet Underground’s I Found A Reason. As someone who is obsessed with Velvet Underground, I’m a bit dubious of anyone who covers them. The only two artists that can cover them and still stay true to the sound are The Kills and Cat Power. They keep the same feeling to the songs, but add their own personal touch to it. That’s when you know a cover is given the justice it deserves.

She has covered everyone from Bob Dylan to John Lee Hooker; she takes the songs from those that inspire her and makes the covers her own personal tribute to them. It is so beautiful and passionate.

Her love for Bob Dylan is truly special and just beautiful. You can tell how in awe she of him. Her track, Song For Bobby is the most gorgeous dedication I’ve ever heard. As someone who adores Bob Dylan, you really appreciate how she conveys how you feel for him in her song. “What I feel in my heart from the beginning till my dying day.” She’s loved him from the first time she heard him, and always will. That’s what it is like when you find a musician you really connect with. Nothing can break or decrease your love for them, it is that great. It’s like a lifeline for you. We’ve all got that one artist that means this much to us. The way she sings of her admiration to Bobby is how I feel about her.

Her voice is bluesy and just sets your soul on fire. If you’re not touched by her voice, then I guess there could be something wrong with you. Do you watch X-Factor by any chance and you’ve become a sucker for what the TV tells you to enjoy? Oh dear. I don’t know if you can be saved. Her music is a comfort blanket. Her music makes you feel okay with your insecurities and fears. You feel that her cover songs are her own; she is such a strong figure who allows herself to be weak. Not many do this; many just act like a rock. We cannot relate to that.

The vulnerability that comes through in her music makes you connect with her on a completely different level. You see, most show it through the words they sing. Cat Power is different; you feel it in HOW she sings it; that’s a lot deeper. That takes more out of you.

Of all the female singers that I adore, my heart well and truly belongs to Cat Power, and yes my blog URL is in tribute to Cat Power.

Cat Power!

11 01 2010

This is a woman who I’ve adored for years. My love for her will never cease, it only grows. I’ve spent most of the evening listening to her and watching some clips on YouTube. I stumbled across this astounding cover of Bob Dylan’s Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again. It is 7 minutes of pure excellence. It is just as amazing as Bob Dylan’s version. And everybody knows how much Chan adores, idolises Bob. It is beautiful. I’d love to hear them sing this together.

Cat Power- Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (Cover).

Cat Power. Birmingham Carling Academy 2. June 10th 2008.

11 06 2008

Before I begin, I would like to apologise in advance if I ramble. This was the best gig I have ever been to and I’m not sure if my review will do the gig justice. However I shall try.

It’s just after 6pm and there’s not many people queuing up. Some workers from phone company Orange are putting up balloons to advertise the company- this causes everyone in the queue to take these balloons and attempt to take them into the venue. It doesn’t happen. So, we let the balloons go altogether on the count of 3. We set free our balloons.

The gig was meant to be in the Academy but due to not selling enough tickets (my biased opinion fails to see why not) it is moved upstairs to the Academy 2. I’m rather pleased with this as it’s smaller thus making it more intimate. I’m not a fan of big venues. Give me a venue that holds 200-400 any day! Chan Marshall and the band take to the stage at around 9pm and play til 10.40pm. I wasn’t the only one who wanted her to play all night. She sure has enough songs to do so!

Blazing through most of the tracks off her newest album, Jukebox, Chan also treats us with some rarities such as I Feel (at this point I was in a trance) and Angelitos Negros. She also played tracks off The Greatest and Moon Pix. Surprise cover versions were Tracks Of My Tears and Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) which were awesome.

There are no highlights from this gig, it was all amazing. Two songs in particular that stood out for me were Lived In Bars and Song To Bobby. Mid-way through Lived In Bars the pace was picked up and it felt like you were in the midst of a sing-a-long in a bar. Lovely. Just lovely. Song To Bobby is Chan’s own tribute to the legend that is Bob Dylan, at the end she said “I love this song.I just love it.” She wasn’t the only one.

Every word sang and every note played was full of passion. Just watching them all play together looked like one big happy family. At the end Chan handed out flowers to the crowd, it seemed like she didn’t want to leave. She mouthed she wanted to take us all home and we all wanted the same. A memorable night that will never ever be forgotten and will be talked about by all those there in years to come.

What would have made the night even better(if possible) would be if they played The Greatest and Naked If I Want To. But that’s only because I adore the songs!

A few of the many photos I took from the gig :


Chan throwing flowers into the crowd.