I am admittedly a creature of habit, and I've gotta say I have been to 'most every Cat Power show in San Francisco over the last 10 years. 10 years! I feel old. I feel like I've seen Chan Marshall through a lot, and unlike most others, I never gave up on her. The main thing that brought me back to see her time and time again was simple: her voice.
Despite her mini breakdowns, despite her half finishing songs, despite her spotting ghosts mid set at the Great American and her whispered apologies, despite that one time she had a broken finger and still tried to play a solo show, I have always shown up, cause I just don't think you can beat her smoky voice. It's just unbeatable.
Last night at the Fillmore, it was in full effect, and this time she was fully fronting a rock band, cordless mic included. While I was slightly disappointed she wasn't playing guitar or piano herself, I was delighted to see her smiling onstage, and often. She seemed secure in her place at last.
The show was packed with soul covers; as always she twisted and shook the tunes until they became something almost unrecognizable and felt like her own. I loved her sad version of "Tracks of My Tears", and I always have enjoyed hearing her sing "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" -- that one will never die. I love how she always references her Southern roots in her choices-- last night with Otis Redding. She also sang "Dark Side of the Street" to fantastic, sultry effect. Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" even was slipped in (She must be obsessed with that song, cause I've heard her do it before, over a year ago.) before she was off to Patsy Cline. She even covered Joni Mitchell's "Blue", a personal favorite of mine. Oh, and her version of "Satisfaction" was the opposite of anything I've heard her do: an almost dead on copy of the original-- she even sang the choruses of the song for the first time, despite the fact that she included the song on her album The Covers Record.