Cat Power @ Hiro Ballroom, NYC 2/5/07

Making it over to Hiro last night was a chore, what with the glacial gasps ripping our jackets in two. But the blustery NYC air didn’t stop a full room of Chan lovers from filling the Ballroom, sitting huddled on the venue floor in part-reverence, part-warmth conservation. And it’s best to go into a Cat Power show with no expectations, ’cause her soul-baring, off-kilter stage persona swings as wildly as her mic-hand while mid-dance.

So when she finally took the stage with our hero, the man of Chavez Matt Sweeney, it was to accost the crowd for stealing her stuffed porcupine and to introduce her catchphrase for the night, courtesy of Ms. Peachez: “You can find me in the tub, playing with bubbles and washing my booty.” Request “that Cat Stevens cover,” and it was a Ms. Peachez quote in reply. How can you argue? Brag about your pending nuptials, and get “He’s gonna give you that ring, you’re gonna have to give him that anus.” We repeat …

But aside from the spellbinding chain smoking, the future SNL character sketches (what was that Latina accent?) and the audience rapport, Chan also delivered with a great, bluesy performance: reworking “Tracks Of My Tears” and Otis Redding tunes, turning her heart out on “The Greatest,” and stringing together a gorgeous “Lived In Bars/?/Blue Moon” medley. Oh and she offered a bit of advice: “If you see a Cat Power shirt in Urban Outfitters on sale for $34 … don’t buy it.” We agree. Fuck the shirt, take the money and see her in the flesh.

Tags: Cat Power