Cat Power at Scout Bar, 12/12/2013
It's always fascinating to hear stories of concerts past from friends, parents and grandparents, because like watching a movie or visiting a museum, each artist only gets a few hours to make an impression. But unlike other activities, nearly every person you ask has a concert or two that will stick with them for a lifetime.
And though it shouldn't be surprising, it's safe to say that Cat Power solidified her place in the memories of an entire audience after her solo performance at Scout Bar last night.
Following opener Nico Turner -- an impressive, experimental powerhouse -- Cat Power (otherwise known as Chan Marshall) took the stage with guitar in hand and dived head first into covers of "House of the Rising Sun" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
Despite the fact that she performed Main Stage with her band at this year's Free Press Summer Fest, it's the first time she's toured Houston since a stop at Warehouse Live in 2008, and the first time as a solo artist since she played at Fat Cat's in 2004.
Perhaps that's why Scout Bar was comfortably full, despite the fact that it was one hell of a cold Thursday evening.
Even so, as Marshall transitioned into her original material (such as "Hate" and "Great Expectations,") it was clear that she was pulling out the big guns, making up for lost time and even, perhaps, trying to show just what she was made of.
By now, most Cat Power fans are aware of Marshall's dark past. Throughout her nearly two-decade career, she has openly admitted to issues with anxiety, alcohol abuse, as well issues in regards to her love life. Unfortunately, because those aspects of her life are so frequently talked about, Marshall is often sold short of her talent before being tossed aside.
But time and time again, Marshall has been able to prove that whether she's performing solo or with a band, she isn't a woman you can easily ignore.
As she stood onstage, Marshall transitioned her songs with ease. If she fumbled for a chord, she simply played it off before settling into the next track. It's not an easy thing to do - play for nearly three hours with little to no pause -- but after spending an evening with Marshall, it's clear that she isn't just a musician. She's an artist.
After playing five tracks on the guitar, Marshall finally took a break, scooped up a cup of hot tea and sat down at a grand piano where she pounded out ten songs. Yes, Marshall does have a habit of speaking so softly that it's sometimes hard to hear, but the audience was so quiet and attentive that her stories could be heard throughout the room.
In between "Names," "The Greatest" and her cover of Mary J. Blige's "Deep Inside," Marshall spoke of writing songs in Hollywood hotels and hitchhiking across France, painting a portrait of a life lived to the fullest. By the time she got to "Make Me Feel So Bad," men and women of all ages all seemed to be brought to their knees from the simplistic beauty she had composed.
Though Marshall is often regarded as an "indie darling," she is that and much, much more.
Review continues on the next page.