15 September 2003

Cat Power inspires lots of buzz ..

From Jez, about the Sunday night gig:
She performed solo (with no-one accompanying her) starting off a bit slowly on the piano she played a medley of songs, none complete versions, then she moved over to the acoustic guitar and feel apart. On the last few piano tracks she'd said that she couldn't play some of the songs, that they were too difficult and she couldn't remember. This got much worse while she played guitar. Playing the guitar, the stage lights were in her face, so she got them turned off and then moved over to the corner of the stage in complete darkness. There were moments of complete brilliance, but mostly it was just damn annoying, insincere and pestulant.
I knew that she was fragile, but last time I saw her play she had it together a lot more. This time I don't know what to think. However, I did notice that when she emerged initially at the start of the concert, she muttered about the stress of playing solo, with no one to back you up, and complained about the bright lights and the lack of feedback so that she couldn't hear how her guitar sounded. When I saw her in Adelaide she played in darkness with a bit a light on the crowd. I thought that she would have been better at the metro. go figure.

From me:
We're in two minds over here - one that the gig-going public are expecting a glossy, pre-packaged show every time, and need a reality check that not everyone gives that.. and that she is a brilliant, raw dose of fragile talent and emotional power. And Jim Morrison or Iggy Pop were canonised for this kind of behaviour .. so is it a double standard for chicks?.

The other mind is that you've got such great talent, and the ability to move people that its kind of like chucking it away when you soak it in alcohol to the point where you can't remember the chords. And that's partly why the audience get so aggro.

From DW (spot the lawer):
Saturday night was very strange, there was the odd "boo" and a few people left but there was not the constant heckling that the "performance" probably deserved.

It was a surreal experience from when she opened by asking for underage drinkers and then passing around wine, the aborted attempts to play both her own material and covers (she got one and a half lines into a nick cave number before giving up). Right through to the final "piece" that was essentially a 20 min instrumental with Chan hiding firstly behind the guitarist, then the piano, and finally going into the crowd and sitting on the floor for 5-10 mins of incomprehensible singing/conscious stream.
Finally she stood up, getting one of her biggest cheers of the night, and
somehow got back on stage. The lights came up, the Verve came back over the PA, and we were treated to one of two attempts by her to play the drums before getting jack of it and followed the lead of others and left. I am still amazed that the crowed didn't go feral (I've seen bands pelted with rubbish for performances better than that).

For the first time in my concert going career actually wanted to ask someone for my money back, but upon hearing that what we had seen was standard for her, decided against it, if that is what she does in live gigs, so be it, but don't market it as a concert as it's a performance artist/cabaret/freak show, some sort of spectacle. Which is fine if you are not expecting her to perform to the level of her albums.... I needed the tip-off before hand to really evaluate it, as a descent into madness, a drunken idiot or someone just putting it on because that is their thing...... Kind of like going to see Lou Reed and knowing that it could be an amazing show, or he could decide to be a prick and tell the crowd they suck and play a few songs to himself.

Back to me (sweeties):
Well I'm starting to think - bless her for creating something that people
feel strongly enough about to discuss a few days later! (and online forums) In today's world of disposable consumerism that in itself is an

To AJ (I think she's kidding about the A-triple C)
I don't think any of us quite knew what to do, I have seen her before and can only assume it was the high quality Australian performers that backed her up that made it an interesting and delightful performance last time. If you can't perform, don't, nobody is going to make you, and it would create a certain amount of interest in you as a musician.

I will never see Chan again, I will not recommend her music , will never buy an album, and will actively rag her to other people. This was by far the most appauling spectacle I have ever seen, the reason the audience didn't riot??
no point, i'm sure it would have ended up with catpower in a mental institution, which is probably where she needs to be. I should have taken a cue from the level of performance from the support acts (equally as annoying) but they played more songs than she did. I do want my money back but I want Chan to pay personally, I have moved from confusion to anger, nobody deserves to be served up this kind of "performance", I wish I had gone to the pub.

Currently receiving advice from the ACCC about return of monies

An Dave weighing in on gender issues:
I like the comment about at least it is stimulating discussion, mind you I saw Jane's addition on Australia day and I haven't stopped talking about it (it was awesome, dude).

I agree that she has the right to put on whatever show she wants and doesn't have to conform to a standard for folksy/blues performers where they strum the guitar, tell a few jokes, belt out the songs and have candles around the stage etc.

But! there is the expectation that she will put on a decent show as it was billed as a performance not as a collapse

I don't think that it is a female/male thing Jim Morrison and Iggy pop traded off the fact that they were likely to be a mess on stage - look at Tex Perkins, I've never seen him live where he didn't act drunk/stoned/high/low, it's his persona/life.

I didn't know Chan had a reputation for flaking out on stage, if i had known it would have been less of an issue - but it could be argued that is my fault for not doing better due diligence, or a false representation by the promoter - the ticket should have looked like a cigarette packet with a big warning on it stating "Performer may decide it's all to hard, causing you anger". If I had seen that sort of performance from Courtney Love, Grace Jones, Martika apparently a big tantrum thrower) or Janis Joplin etc it would have been less of an issue as you know that buying a ticket to one of their shows is a gamble. - especially Joplin, i bought a ticket to her show a couple of years and she never turned up! ;)

I may not be as angry as AJ, (not far to go -denial, resistance, exploration and commitment to move on), but i am disappointed that not only was it a crap show, but that as a performer in general she appears to lack respect for those who listen to her music.

So I will be instructing people to avoid seeing her live, and to steal the equivalent of $44.95 worth of CD's of her music off the net, cause despite saturday night, on her albums she can hum a good tune.

And of course I get the last word
I knew she'd be flaky but I hate to see great music tortured and all but destroyed. I think partly the anger comes from seeing someone who has the voice of an angel and the opportunity to spend life doing what they love, playing music and making money from it, throw it all out the window with histrionics and bullshit...

Phew! Anyway.. my inspiration to blog away to my heart's content. Okay so I may go blind. Oh well, at least I'll still be able to hear.

Next time: The Eels, or
"How a band can enter your life and instantly become and old friend"

No comments: