Matson on Music
Concert review: Cat Power at Showbox SoDo
"I miss you guys," Cat Power said toward the end of her concert Saturday night at Showbox SoDo, fiddling with her earpiece microphone. "I love Seattle. And you guys have been so loving to me."
It was one of those rainy Seattle nights where great music was everywhere. The Afghan Whigs were playing at Showbox at the Market. Local hip-hop producers were huddling around PA speakers in bars on Capitol Hill, creating new genres.
Cat Power (Chan Marshall) seemed to take that seriously, that you could have been anywhere in the world but you were here with her. The concert often looked like something was technically not OK. But the music was perfect if you closed your eyes, and a packed house got a good show.
The best songs were the opening two. First, "The Greatest," a ballad from 2006 with a new battle-ready arrangement. Her two drummers filled the big space easily. That lead into the synth-rocking "Cherokee" off her new, ninth album "Sun," synched up to video-projected clouds and the sound of an eagle screaming. It was a powerful beginning to an 80-minute set that never got boring.
It was a weird/enjoyable experience. Marshall sang well, wore a leather jacket and a sneer and a two-toned mohawk. She signified rock 'n' roll like an actor. She also constantly acted like some wire or microphone was malfunctioning, mumbling apologies and futzing with equipment. It gave her stadium-rock a punk feeling.
Fiddling with her earpiece, suddenly darting to the side of the stage, she performed "Angelitos Negros" by Roberta Flack like a cat burglar, Marshall's Spanish accent improved since her "Jukebox" album in 2008.
"Are her concerts always like this?" asked a woman toward the front, not complaining, just asking.
It was a fair question. And no, they're not. Cat Power three years ago at Marymoor Park was mellower. This was rockier. But Marshall is a 20-year vet of the independent music game. She's got to stay interesting. And with her stage show and music, she is.