Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Cat Power

Last night Ali and I went to the Forum in Kentish Town to see Cat Power play with her band, The Dirty Delta Blues. Mid-week gigs are always a bit of a mental struggle - sorting out how Ali's going to get into town, where we'll get some pre-gig food, and of course either rushing to get the last train home or Ali negotiating late night London traffic to get out of town and back to Abingdon before finally getting to bed at an abnormally late (for a school night that is) 1am. Normally, however, the gig itself manages to transcend these feelings of mid-week unease by being bloody brilliant.

Last night's show would have been the same - Cat Power performed remarkably, her voice strong and the band perfectly pitched to complement her singing. However, she's not got what you would call a lot of loud songs,and whenever a slight hush in the track came along, all you could hear was the drone of about half the crowd talking and shouting to each other. Really loudly. At one point, Cat Power put on a fake Cockerney accent - " 'Allo Landan, nice ter see yer" and someone in the crowd shouted out "Don't take the piss". Well excuse me, but given that she was having the piss taken out of her during every song through half the crowd totally ignoring her, I thought she was quite justified. I just hope that she and the band couldn't hear the majority of the hubbub from their position on stage.

As there was no hope of really getting into the music I ended up people watching instead. As well as the usual gig suspects (older man in a suit and tie, overly affectionate newly-together couple, random punk with mohican) a girl caught my eye who I really empathised with. She was a short blonde, probably no more than about 5'2", and she was standing right at the back of one of the levels at the Forum. She was with a group of 3 friends, who were contributing to the overall noise of the crowd by having a shouty conversation and also clearly not including her in their chat, and she obviously couldn't see a thing from her position. There was the obligatory 6'10 bloke standing a little way in front of her and she was either too shy to move forward or didn't want to leave her friends so resorted to occasionally standing on tiptoes and craning her neck into awkward positions. She wandered off to the loo a couple of times during the gig and eventually left about 2/3 of the way through. I really felt for her. Her 'friends' sort of shrugged and giggled a bit when she left as if expressing a sort of bemused pity for her, but they seemed like idiots to me.

Cat Power - The Greatest
So overall not a successful gig really, we left just before the encore and headed home through the leafy poshness of Highgate and the awful despair of the A40 through Brent Cross, Neasden etc. We listened to Cat Power on CD, as a lot of the people at the gig should have done - at home.

1 comment:

Mandrew said...

Hmmm. More or less the same happened when I saw her a few years ago. You're lucky she didn't storm off crying as she has been known to do. I think there's about a 1 in 10 chance of seeing/hearing a good Cat Power gig.

What are the chances that, at the only gig I've seen in Japan thus far, I - a six foot foreigner, got stuck behind the one native I can't see over? I felt really sorry for the girls there. A friend of mine used to have a 4ft9 girlfriend. Despite the fact that they were avid festival and gig- goers, he told me she had never actually "seen" a band.