Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Cat Power's outing was a curious affair. For starters, the 9 p.m. announced start didn't happen until 9:50 p.m., one hour after the opening act concluded. No explanation. No apology from Cat Power.
And then there was the lighting or the lack thereof. While her three-piece backing back could be seen amidst backing blue and pinkish lights, Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, was bathed in dark light and could not much be seen as if she were in hiding.
Nor was she particularly heard from either. After thanking people for coming and that life was getting more normal before striking a note, she played song after song without saying much of anything.
Cat Power clearly had vocal issues, although her soothing, somewhat haunting voice sounded fine. But Cat Power came out with two cups of tea and went for it often along with coughing at varying points. Fortunately for her, this was the final show on this leg of the tour. She may have cut a few songs from her set as well based on other shows on the tour.
Bottom line – this was not an engaging show for most of the 80 minutes
Cat Power is touring off of this year's release, "Covers." In the hands of Cat Power, that meant outDylaning Dylan in reconstructing and reconfiguring songs. Few were the least bit recognizable. For a while anyway, the songs were slow and cut from the same tempo.
But then all of a sudden, it was as if Marshall received a shot of adrenalin about two-thirds of the way through because her demeanor and the tempo changed dramatically. Instead of the standoffish dour diva-esque performer, Cat Power started yapping with some regularity and finally engaging the crowd.
It should be noted, however, that four different times, Marshall complained about the AC, wanting it turned off one suspects to help whatever was ailing her throat. Eventually, she got her wish.
The pace picked up with Cat Power's take on Kitty Wells' massive '50s country hit "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" somewhat approximating the original.
The band rocked more with the show taking on a different complexion. Cat Power even smiled and seemed not to want to leave the stage. She handed out set lists, preened a bit and may have simply been glad to get through the show.
If only the rest of the evening was like that.
New York City-based singer Arsun Sorrenti opened with a winning set that recalled Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. Arsun, as he goes by, has a full, commanding voice that carried his earnest sounding songs. He was backed by a few musicians who added a bit of texture, although Arsun was strong enough to stand on his own.