Down With Cat Power

Cat Power's Chan Marshall specializes in songs sung blue - sad,
sorrowful indie-torch ballads and rockers that are often downtempo and
almost always downcast.

As such, the festival got off to decidedly depressive start, with Cat
Power opening on the North Stage with a gorgeously gloomy set of
originals and covers - not least Joni Mitchell's "Blue," which might
well be Marshall's theme song.

Her version here was dreamy and dark (not necessarily in that order),
with waves of instrumental reverb enveloping Marshall's melancholy
voice - a parched, ethereal instrument that sounds both haunting and
haunted.

That was true even when she tried to sound indignant, as on a cover of
Credence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," which began as a
simmering, sinewy torch song before picking up volume and velocity,
putting it closer in sound and seething spirit to the original.

Generally, though, Marshall - who has become an expressive, open
performer after suffering through years of stage fright - sang of
painful personal politics, in songs like James Brown's "Lost Someone,"
which was transformed into a cocktail-jazz number, and Marshall's own
"I Don't Blame You," an older song which sounded downright
self-pitying.

All hail the queen of sadcore.

--J. FREEDOM DU LAC

By David Malitz |  August 9, 2008; 1:14 PM ET Virgin Festival
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