Would You Like To Go To A Cat Power Concert With Me?

You should first know that I bought two tickets weeks ago without actually having a date lined up for the show, because too many times I’ve been the guy who buys one ticket and then a potential date/concert buddy/couple-who-would-make-me-feel-all-third-wheely-anyway bails and I’m stuck going to a sold-out show by myself. This time I thought ahead – added the on-sale date to my Google calendar and got an electronic reminder 15 minutes before. (This should indicate the fanboy rabbit hole you are approaching.)

But I haven’t gotten as far as filling my +1 and the August 26th date is fast approaching. Would you go to Cat Power with me?

Before you agree to come along to what you think will be a laid-back Friday night at Webster Hall, you should know that The Greatest still gives me chills now some five years after it dropped; every new spin reawakening the haunting, satin-wrapped voice of Chan Marshall (the sound of which my ears still refuse to believe belongs to a living person).

You should know that the time when The Greatest was in its heaviest rotation on my clunky old iPod was a particularly emotionally vulnerable period for me, having just learned of a diagnosis that would turn into a fatal bout of leukemia for my dad; a period of financial destitution that would disprove the Pollyanna-ish hope that a full-time job would stave off financial ruin. I had just settled into a quarter-life-crisis malaise where all prospects of professional career, romantic life and greater meaning were being washed away in a bland haze of joyless southern heat, drank away via the bitter, watery beer I turned to while living on a South Carolina resort island for several years.

To really understand what’s at stake, you should know that You Are Free was instrumental in bridging a gap in between The Terrible Crap I Listened To Before The Internet, and The World Of Real Music With Meaning. So you should know that “He War” will cut me deep, exposing raw bone from an incarnation of myself long before I moved to New York City. And you should know that if she plays “Good Woman,” I will feel the collective shame for every relationship problem I’ve caused over the years, even though none are really that bad in comparison to Chan’s shredding portrait of love gone to bad places. If you go to the show, I’ll turn into one of those people who secretly covets deeper pain, even if for just a few hours on a Friday night.

You should know that when I listen to any Cat Power album pre-You Are Free, my brain automatically releases some heretofore unnoticed emergency cache of red wine tannins and it’s the only time I ever crave a cigarette, not in the drunk-party-on-because-I-won’t-remember-this sort of way but in the hunched-over-the-kitchen-table-at-1-am-scrawling-manifestos sort of way.

I will most likely tell you that out of all the albums that jockey for position on my All-Time Top Ten list, The Greatest is the only unflappable flag, while the winds of age constantly reorder and demote the various ska, garage rock and Springsteen tracks that make up the rest of its inventory.

You should know there’s a good chance I’ll bristle at noise at the concert or shoot particularly pointed arrows of disapproval at what I will unfairly judge as bridge-and-tunnel suburbanites who came in to hear a replay of something they heard in the background while Juno was blathering on.

I’ll probably tell the story, at least once, of the first time I saw her perform oh so many years ago in a steamy desert tent packed with sweaty, fragrant dipsters (desert hipsters) at Coachella 2006. And I’ll stress the part about how she still seemed so frail and scared on stage despite the strength of a powerful, beautiful album and soulful backing band lifting her from behind, until, that is, she unleashed the jaunty, self-assured refrains of “The Greatest.” That was when she pulled her veil of hair back from in front of her eyes into a quick twist behind her head to reveal her stunning Chanel-model of a face, the one she kept packed away like precious porcelain for all those years beset by stage fright, now revealed and —
“Wow,” I said to my friend or maybe just to myself, “she really is beautiful,” in the full, ancient sense of the word.

As the song went into bouncy instrumentals she sprang forward in a fighter’s stance, raising her hands in mock boxing gloves, as she hopped about with rabbit speed and fought phantom enemies from entering stage right, like she was protecting us, the audience, from her own demons. The crowd, struck by the sight of her bursting into life with a fight stance and then whisking into a ballet move, exploded with cheers, encouraging her as if they were worried she was still in danger of taking her toys and running off the stage. “We love you Chan!” someone shouted. It wasn’t me, but it might be on Friday.

You should also know I will probably drink from my flask for a large portion of the evening and that the drunkenness I plan on getting lies somewhere between “wistfully attentive” and “sloppy emotional wreckage.” It’s also possible I may get so transfixed I forget you’re there and forget to share the flask.

You may want to bring a flask of your own. Unless, of course, you get chills in the same way, in which case it has the potential to be a great night. So would you go to the Cat Power show with me? TC mark

image – Basic Sounds

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  • Victoria Peacock

    Yesss I love Cat Power, The Greatest makes me cry too…I would go but I doubt I live anywhere near you haha :(

  • Eliot Rose

    Her cover of “I Found a Reason” gives me chills like nothing else.

    • Megan

      oh god. i love the VU/lou reed, but the original of that song does nothing for me. but that cover like makes me cry, orgasm, and want to call my best friend all at once.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    I fucking loved this. +

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    I’ve been in this situation before.  You can only hope we find a dependable concert going friend one day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/valary.bobb Valary Bobb

    I would love to go with and drink and be emotional and listen and not talk and then talk a lot and remember and forget. I saw her once in Seattle it was not as good as I had hoped. She had a band and she didn’t play at all and not too far into it she left stage and didn’t come back. I imagined that night going so much differently in my head..

  • http://entropicalia.wordpress.com Alison

    Wouldn’t want to ruin the experience with my comparative lack of enthusiasm, but my sympathies are there. I have my own open +1 Webster Hall ticket with a little over a month to fail at finding a taker. Sigh. The plight of the contemporary concert goer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362420023 Jessica Poolt

    I made this post in the form of a facebook status late last week and the only response I got was: “U so gay” (with one like). That said, see you there!

  • http://twitter.com/Flarfer Dave P

    You might feel differently had you seen her in 2002. #old

  • http://twitter.com/Flarfer Dave P

    You might feel differently had you seen her in 2002. #old

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Heta-Patel/8825701 Heta Patel

    sell your tickets, fast.  don’t get me wrong, i love cat power but seriously one of the worst shows i’ve ever been to.  i actually walked out.  

  • Christy

    I’ll go with you. Or, I’ll see you there. The internet is an amazing thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    My only experience with Cat Power is her 10 second cover of Hanging on the Telephone for a cell phone commercial… I like the commercial … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X-5b5kuax8

  • Anonymous

    ta.gg/55j

  • coinoperated

    can i just say that this post is The Greatest? I’ll watch with you, dont worry I’m a Good Woman, but i live in bars. Enjoy her concert! Someday I’ll be able to watch her too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    kat george concert~~~*~*~

  • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

    I’ll go with you. For real. “Willie Deadwilder” (the 18-minute version) is probably in my top five songs of all time. I will also bring my own flask and revel in the mucky murkiness of emotion brought about vis-a-vis Ms. Marshall and her jamz.

    Hit a bitch up: brianaritz [at] gmail [dot] com

    also: “As the song went into bouncy instrumentals she sprang forward in a
    fighter’s stance, raising her hands in mock boxing gloves, as she hopped
    about with rabbit speed and fought phantom enemies from entering stage
    right, like she was protecting us, the audience, from her own demons.”

    LOVE.

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    PLEASE TAKE ME.  Cat Power is my favorite artist. Her songs, her covers, her soul reach a part of me that I have yet to experience with any other artist. 

  • Anonymous

    We did the Cat Power poster for the LA Show…
    http://tworabbits.bigcartel.com/product/cat-power-poster-los-angeles

    Process of the print here:
    http://tworabbitsstudios.com/cat-power-poster

  • http://twitter.com/timdonnelly Tim Donnelly

    Would you guys believe this actually worked? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tereza-Jarníková/509149443 Tereza Jarníková

    “not in the drunk-party-on-because-I-won’t-remember-this sort of way but
    in the hunched-over-the-kitchen-table-at-1-am-scrawling-manifestos sort
    of way.”

    This resonates with me.

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