The Power of the Cat
Last night was just about as perfect as September gets. The weather has cooled to perfect temps this week, and it started raining late in the afternoon — that soft, steady, soothing drizzle.
Dan and I began the night at Avra, a Greek restaurant in Midtown. The restaurant is in a converted house; our table was on the wraparound porch, facing Juniper Street. You know how I am about porches and rain. The light breeze occasionally brushed sprinkles of rain on our arms, and the sound of the shower brought peace and relaxation to the table. And, of course, the company was as much fun as he always is. I have the best ex-beau ever.
A glass of red wine, pork tenderloin with goat cheese cakes, deliriously delicious Greek pastries, coffee with Ouzo. The dinner was so scrumptious and the seating so perfect, we briefly considered staying there all evening and skipping the main event.
Still swooning over those goat cheese cakes. Don’t they serve those in Heaven? They should, dammit.
But we went … because the main event was Cat Power, performing at Variety Playhouse (my favorite music venue in town). The Connecticut beloveds and the Northwest doppelganger warned me that I might be sorely disappointed since Chan Marshall’s performances had been pretty rough the last few years. I’d heard that she was on the wagon, though, so I was confident that I was going to see a great show. So confident, in fact, I skipped the sure bet of seeing R.E.M. perform in Athens last night. (Don’t feel sorry for me, lovelies; I’ll see the original Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe lineup perform on Saturday.)
Thank you, Chan, for kicking our aural asses last night and proving the naysayers wrong. She was amazing — sultry, ethereal, fun. She’s a shy one and her dance moves were cute yet stilted in the beginning, and it was fun watching her warm up and let go.
I judge musicians on the covers they perform. It’s a great way to discover their influences and get a feel for their love of music. Cat Power hit high marks all night long. One of the sultriest versions of “House of the Rising Sun” ever and a damn good “Satisfaction.” Nina Simone (I’m too sleepy to remember which one!) and “Tracks of My Tears.” And she stole the show with her cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”
Cat Power was backed up by the Memphis Rhythm Band. Oh. My. God. What a great twelve-piece — yes, twelve — band. Listening to them, I felt as if I were in the Stax recording studios.
Too wound up after the show, I went home and danced around my living room until about 2 a.m. — windows open, raindrops backing up Cat Power on the stereo. Finally wound down enough to head upstairs, and the rain lulled me to sleep.
The AJC ran a good profile of Cat Power this weekend; click here to read the article.
Next up: Nellie McKay tomorrow at Variety Playhouse. Anyone else going? I’m single for this show.