[Review+Photos] Cat Power w/ Nico Turner | 3rd & Lindsley | 11/6/2013

Cat Power- Kelsi Alexander

We got the pleasure of checking out Cat Power’s set at 3rd & Lindsley last week as part of a solo tour around the country to support her most recent album, Sun, which made our list of top 10 albums of 2012. Undoubtably, this show was going to be one to remember. 3rd & Lindsley is such an intimate venue, so it made for a wonderful setting for a toned-down, solo show by Chan Marshall (Cat Power’s given name). As we told you last week in the preview, we were chomping at the bit for this show to arrive. Check out our full review below and some awesome photos from the night by Kelsi Alexander.

The night began with Nico Turner, who we knew previously as a superstar drummer, but weren’t as familiar with her solo work. We were not disappointed. Nico had such a charisma and charm with the crowd, and she was cute as can be. It was obvious that she was totally in her element. She is the true definition of an artist and musician, and it was so neat to see her creating and totally vibing on stage right in front of us. Nico told the crowd that she has been thinking about moving to Nashville, and we really hope this happens because we would love to see more of this girl. She definitely won us, and the crowd, over.

After Nico was superstar Cat Power. Where do we even begin? This is definitely an artist that we have be highly anticipating seeing, and her set was killer – just as we expected. Chan played with no band: herself, her guitar, a piano, and a music stand (way more stripped down than anyone is used to seeing), but it was so great. We got to really see Chan as an artist and not just a performer. That was unforgettable in of itself. She played hits from records new and old, which was really pleasing to the crowd (which was an interesting mix of people and age groups) and to us as well. The highlights of the night, for us, were the moments where it seemed like she was having a hard time, simply because we got to see how full of love and support Cat Power fans are. They’ve been through a lot with her over the past few years, and it was great to witness the vast amounts of encouragement coming from the crowd throughout the night.

All in all, this show ruled. If you weren’t able to make it out, check out some of the photos by Kelsi Alexander below and keep an eye out for both of these ladies in the future!

17 comments

  1. I think this article is sugar-coating the onstage meltdown that was Cat Power. She would stop songs midway through, cover her face, and plead for forgiveness from the crowd. The crowd would then tell her she was pretty and how good she was doing. It was like watching a drunk family member do karaoke. It’s hard to watch and even harder to turn away from.

    She was drinking vodka like water and was glossy eyed. On top of that she was over one hour late to her own damn show. The whole tour has gotten little press and it seems like she is only on the road purely to earn cash quick.

    Saying that, Cat Power has the most glorious voice and killer lyrics. She is an amazing person with much talent. She has inspired me as a musician myself. But, as we well know, talent can’t save us from our own self-sabotaging ways.

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    • It just goes to show you how two different people in the same place can see two different things. This was my first Cat Power show and I couldn’t have been happier. I go to a lot of concerts and see one polished, rehearsed, pre-packaged production after another and while I appreciate all of the hard work they put into what they do, I found it refreshing to have been a part of this intimate evening with Chan. She would be vulnerable and apologetic in one moment, and then the guitar or piano would start and that incredible voice would follow, making me glad I was there.
      I felt like she was being honest with us. For two hours she was herself, playing her music for friends. This may not have been what you came to see, but it worked for me.

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      • Bob, I’m with you…
        I saw her in Cleveland just yesterday. She was hour and half late, and some people in the crowd were getting frustrated. But man, when she was on she was so on… such a gift to turn words like that. Because of my own close experience with loved ones with substance abuse, I saw what she did as brave. She hardly sleeps, she’s an artist telling her stories, songs she wrote about loved ones too. It is hard to do this crazy emotional thing in front of strangers, plus with the anxiety/ mental health intense stuff she’s battling. But she still went on and did her show. I agree, was so much more personal than a scripted show. You got to see how she works… We gotta love those people and try and support them. Put yourself in her shoes, weigh all the issues, look at what she’s been through before attacking the artist…

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        • Lara,

          I hear you. Only Chan really knows what she’s going through, but…her show in Chicago last night was also ROUGH, on so many levels. I’m pretty forgiving, but it just felt too ramshackle, despite a few moments of beauty. No excuse for repeated late starts on this tour, and Nico’s 15 minute opener was embarrassingly weak. I see amazing musicians perform on a regular basis here, and in this instance the empress had no clothes! I do hope she can get it together though, and THEN take it on the road. Just a thought.

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    • She had s similar meltdown at the Atlanta show on November 7th. It was terrible to see. Half the crowd (including me) left after about 45 minutes of incessant mumbling and half finished songs. Part of the crowd kept yelling compliments. My patience was shot when she admitted that she was too lazy to practice. Thanks Chan for wasting my time and money. I still love music, but I will only invest in her records, no longer her live shows. It’s too bad that there are so many fans (like the reviewer) who seemingly encourage this lack of professionalism by artists.

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  2. Gotta agree with Tree November. Was the author even there for this show? I would hardly call Nico Turner charismatic and “vibing”. She stared at her shoes the whole time and played long, boring riffs for half an hour. I though Cat Power’s “good” moments were stunning. She’s absolutely incredible, but when it got rough….jeeez it was bad. She even offered to give us our money back. This was a really kind review for an uncomfortable, lack-luster performance. I would hardly call her set “killer”.

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  3. it’s not any of our business really.
    but didn’t chan go sober?

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  4. I am so sick of reading shit like this above comment.

    “seems like she is only on the road to earn cash quick” (would that seriously be so terrible?)
    “talent can’t save us from our own self-sabotaging ways”
    You have got to be fucking shitting me.

    (I’m sorry for the curse words, No Country)

    But THIS is the most ridiculous pile of garbage.
    If one didn’t know any better- they might think this dude knows Chan personally, –L.O.-L–., the way he/she has dissected her actions.
    There is not one shred of dignity in the above comment.

    I’ve seen her twice in 6 years: this show being one.
    Yes, she did apologize….you’re upset over that? (WTF)
    Jesus, was this not her first show of the tour? (I’m not positive) If not, it was one of the first.
    She could have been nervous playing those songs- I mean, I’ve never even heard of her playing some of those songs live before! Who in the hell knows?
    I certainly am not about to analyze it, but I did fucking enjoy every damn song she played.

    “it’s hard to watch”
    ….I ain’t even foolin with this.

    I love Chan.
    Always.

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    • There are a lot of disappointed fans who don’t like to pay a lot of money and waste a lot of time to go see a terrible show. Her Atlanta show was a train wreck. Apologies don’t make up for her admission that she is too lazy to practice. Part of being a professional is putting aside your problems to do your job. She does not need to be on tour, she needs to be in rehab.

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  5. It’s so impressive to see the huge discrepancy within these reviews, both the authors’ and the commenters’. Regarding Cat Power’s concerts, I guess it’s a matter of expectations: If one expects a technically competent (to say at least) concert, disappointment shall be certain; now if one expects charisma and spontaneity, amusement shall be certain. Ideally she should be both, but that doesn’t seem to be her case.
    Unfortunately I’ve never been able to watch personally one of her concerts so I can’t form a conclusive opinion of my own yet, but from all I’ve read about and watched online her performances she seems to be a terrible but charismatic performer. If only she hadn’t smoked…

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  6. I saw the Cat Power/Nico Turner show about ten days later in New Haven, Connecticut. Same thing: total meltdowns by both performers. Nico Turner is an energetic guitar player, but like the above commenter said, she play repetitive riffs and mumbled some unintelligible lyrics for about 30 minutes, asking sadly at one point, “How much longer do I have?”

    Ms. Marshall’s performance had a couple of high points, around 10:30 (the performers were 90 minutes late for their 7:00 start so basically the audience had waited 3.5 hours for anything–anything–to begin to justify the $40 ticket price.

    I went with a friend and wasn’t really familiar with either performer beforehand so from the perspective of someone not invested as a fan, what was clearly on display was uncontrolled substance abuse and/or mental illness. It was heart-wrenching to watch.

    I don’t judge them for that and they have both my empathy for the difficult things they’re enduring and sincere wishes for recovery but with respect to Ms. Alexander: journalism students, fans, and other writers aren’t doing these presumably talented people any favors by writing glowing reviews of unprofessional disastrous performances. It’s enabling.

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    • As you are someone who is unfamiliar with Cat Power, I can see how her solo show might leave you wondering how opinions of the same show can be so varied. It would be convenient to pass it off as a fan thing… but I think that is only a part of it. For me, Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) is one of those quirky unique genius talents that come along very rarely in life. Although she can perform (see the Austin City Limits show on Youtube and you’ll be convinced of her talent) I think she is more of an artist than performer. Therein resides the issue that some people have with this tour.

      For people wanting to see a concert on par with the concerts they are used to seeing they came to the wrong show.

      For those who know Chan’s music well on the other hand, we were excited to hear about a “Solo” tour. We were hoping for something intimate, informal and spontaneous, fully aware there might be some false starts, screw ups, and “F” words along the way. These things only made the beauty of the music that much greater when it happened. That is why we were so thrilled to be there. I found it refreshing and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

      I’ve been to more concerts than I can remember, but this one I’ll never forget.

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      • Fair enough, except it didn’t happen. I’m not sure I can communicate how epic the failure was and how even people who were fans and admirers of Ms. Marshall knew it.

        I understand that she’s an immensely talented musician and don’t dispute that. What I am saying is that with sighing plaintively about how watching her self-destruct on stage is somehow “informal, intimate and spontaneous” is doing her a disservice. It might be “refreshing” for you but saying you “wouldn’t have had it any other way” is at best enabling and at worst a chilling indicator of the public’s willingness to see her sacrificed on the altar of their expectations for ‘tortured and sensitive’ artists.

        Ask Sylvia Plath how ‘refreshing’ it is.

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        • Hi CaptainKickstand,

          I wasn’t at the New Haven show so I can’t speak to it. Obviously, and thankfully though, the writer of this article and I didn’t have the same experience as you did.

          I’m guessing that none of us are stupid, or fanatics or newcomers to the concert experience. In the last few years I’ve enjoyed everything from performances of Handel’s Messiah and Swan Lake with a full orchestra playing Tchaikovsky, to being in the front row at a Metallica show. Yet even in that spectrum of entertainment experiences, I found the Cat Power Solo show to be wonderful and so refreshing.

          If you read over the article again, the writer acknowledges that there were rough spots, but that was when the magic happens and the audience came to the rescue. With Chan Marshall and the people who love her music, there is something special… something interactive. I obviously don’t have the words to adequately explain it, or maybe you lack the perspective to understand it, but there is something amazing there.

          True, Chan seemed nervous as it was the first show of the solo tour. This is understandable as she’d been playing with a full band in support of her album “Sun” but was now completely alone on stage with nothing but a couple of guitars and a piano. Do we boo and walk out until she learns her lesson? or do we encourage her past her nervousness? Should the reporter take your tone and discourage people from getting the experience that many of us clearly enjoyed. What for?

          I think your rebuttal does serve a purpose though. To those who read this exchange, it is likely to keep anyone from coming who shouldn’t be there in the first place. Save your ticket money for something else and let us enjoy what we want to enjoy.

          To the writer of this article, thank you for looking past the flaws and seeing the magic. The easy thing would have been to throw stones, but you didn’t. The world has enough over-rehearsed, choreographed entertainment spectacles to fill our time with. I’ll look forward to reading your next reviews.

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      • I can appreciate someone being an artist, she has a great voice and is a great guitar player, than much was evident at times during the Boston show on Monday November 18th. However, she seemed out of it or stoned and the concert could have been so much better. The doors opened at 8pm, Nico played from 9pm to 915, then Cat didn’t show on stage till 10pm. The venue may have set those times to maximise the amount of money people spend at the bar.

        But I don’t know about the rest of you, but $30 is a lot of money to me to pay to watch someone disintegrating on stage, and the wait was real pain, and I feel sad for Cat and Nico.

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    • See,. this is again a difference in expectations I guess. I was at the same show, I thought it was great. If you wanted a concert with exemplary technical skill and a solid set list where songs won’t suddenly end and merge into others, obviously this wasn’t it. What the ticket said though was an intimate night with Cat Power and that’s exactly what we go, fuck ups and all.(particularly when the lights suddenly came back on 1/2 way through, but I liked it better lit). As for Nico, her riffs were definitely repetitive, but her effects made them interesting if you’re into that kind of thing. She’s also more charismatic than 90% of the audience thinks. She was actually joking a lot, the problem is if you weren’t up center in the first few pews, you were going to hear it since she hasn’t learned to talk into the mic. Nico’s problem was they couldn’t get the sound right,(which kept going into Chan’s set up till she took the piano) and it was messing up her songs(which depend heavily on sound and effects), and then her guitar started to go out of tune, and apparently the ex-drummer has not learned to tune by ear now and no one took her up on her offer of tuning it.(then again I’m not sure if anyone not in the first few rows heard). I’d want to get off the stage at that point as well.

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  7. Repeat various descriptions above relating the painful to witness meltdown and endless delay. That’s what I experienced last night.

    Get her off the stage, get her some help and get her healthy. That doesn’t mean “cure her.” I want Chan to be who she is. Pushing aside perfection and embracing vulnerability seems to be a part of that. I’d also like her to thrive versus disintegrate before our eyes.

    Framing a painful performance in lovely euphemistic terms is maddening when really what people are “enjoying” is the process of someone progressively self destruct onstage.

    As things stand, this tour is a fabulous example of our cultures’ capacity for denial or unwillingness to confront mental illness until things become irreconcilable; someone kills themselves, tries to kill themselves, or someone else loses a good deal of money.

    A healthy Chan could wield her wits while struggling with anxiety in addition to the inherent challenges and of performing live and totally solo.

    I believe, a small amount of expectation management could also make a significant difference. It might take pressure off Chan and inform the audience.

    Maybe it would go something like this:
    An evening with Cat Power at . This stripped down solo tour has an unconventional and spontaneous format that makes room for the artist’s sensibilities and sensitivities. Cat Power doesn’t perform, she’s coming to visit. Come hang out with a shy yet feisty friend who happens to want to share her incredibly beautiful music with us.

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