Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cat Power at Bluesfest

I was walking through the main park area, working the final moments of my festival photography shift, when it hit me- the soft, ethereal voice of Cat Power (Charlyn “Chan” Marshall’s stage name). I was instantly seduced.

I knew little of her music beforehand, except for a friend’s recent enthusiasm for her songwriting, but after this show, I’ll be actively searching for more of her smooth vocals to carry me through life's many taxing moments.

Chan (pronounced “Shawn”) is renowned for her minimalist performances, as was on display this night. She was backed up by a talented crew of musicians, but there was no mistaking who was the centre of attention.

I’d say she sounds a little like Nora Jones, but I’m quite sure many Cat Power fans would have me hung for such blasphemy, but you get the idea. One of her bandmates called her the most talented soul singer in the world today. Well, I won’t put that to the test here, but for someone to seriously make that comment suggests the pure vocal talent exhibited by Cat Power.

On this night, she sang a few covers, something she is well-known for during performances. She gave each song an almost entirely new mood, as in her version of George Jackson’s “Aretha, Sing One for Me,” totally up tempo and down key. I like that she’s so playful with her own and other people’s music on stage.

The one major downside to the show was the fact that her mellow vibe was almost drowned out by the rockin’ tunes drifting over from the River Stage. Bluesfest, if you’re going to invite a performer like Cat Power to the main stage, then make sure people can appreciate her subtle message. Her soft melodies weren’t meant to be in a mash-up with some rockabilly music.

I’ll be acquainting myself more closely with Cat Power’s music in the very near future. I hope you do too.


Darren said...

Hello. Nice to hear that you enjoyed the show. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for photos from Cat Power's performance.

I'd be interested in trading your photos for my video of the concert! What do you say?

If you're down, you can reach me at

Take care!