The long overdue comeback of Cat Power to Athens, Greece, for a live show has finally happened (she had first played here in a tiny bar at the beginning of the '00s). 14 years later and with several more excellent albums to her name (the most recent of which, 2012's "Sun", was Album of the Year for this blog), the 5-months pregnant Chan Marshall was back in town, sipping tea and facing solo a much larger audience, this time on the stage of the nearly full Fuzz Club.
With only her guitar and later a piano, Chan Marshall performed more than thirty of her own songs as well as several cover versions, including "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Paths of Victory", "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "Sea of Love", in a two hour, 45 minutes performance that was warmly received by her audience.
It is well known that performing in front of a crowd has always been a challenge for Cat Power, who had to deal with severe stage fright at her early career. You might expect that the wide recognition of her unique songwriting talent and the relative commercial success of her music ("Sun" reached the Billboard's Top 10 in the US, making it the first record in the twenty-something history of Matador Records to achieve such success) would give her a greater level of confidence, but it was obvious from the many times she felt the need to apologize for something during her performance that she remains a loveable mess when it comes to live gigs.
However, and despite her final apologies at the end of the marathon set for feeling she had not connected enough with the audience and for lacking in energy, the rapturous applause of the fans must have shown her that her heartfelt and sincere performance had resonated with them and, sometimes, a song performance that might be lacking in acoustic perfection is more than welcome when it comes from the heart. And there was never any doubt where Cat Power's music comes from.
|Chan Marshall with her bouquet of roses, apologizing(!) after a great, heartfelt performance|
Another plus to this out of the ordinary night, was the solo performance of local artist Nalyssa Green, who presented her noir pop melodies with the help of synthesizers, theremin and guitar. She also included a few cover versions to her set, most notable of which was a faithful rendition of PJ Harvey's "Rid Of Me", a brave selection indeed.
|Nalyssa Green, live @ Fuzz Club|
It's hard to name all the songs in Cat Power's set, but I noticed that the record with the most entries in the set list was 2003's "You Are Free" (perhaps her favorite?), from where we got "I Don't Blame You", "Good Woman", "Werewolf", "Fool", "Names" and "Maybe Not", which you can watch below along with the Dylan cover "Paths of Victory" (from her latest album, only "3,6,9" made the cut - I would expect at least "Ruin", but I guess you can't have it all...).
Cat Power - Paths of Victory / Maybe Not (live @ Fuzz Club, Athens)