(photo by Mike Holdsworth)
Our good friend and former colleague Mike Holdsworth reports from Paris :
Cat Power played a show in Paris on her birthday (Jan 21) at the famed Parisian venue Bataclan. Tickets were changing hands outside for 200 Euros, that’s about 300 of your George Bush dollars. In a short but truly historic show Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues managed to perform a set that ranged across heart rendering passion and through most human emotions including, but not ending in, jealousy and pain. The songs selected were mainly from the new Jukebox album. If Soul Music is passion, tenderness, longing and hurt wrapped up by a great voice and tight band then Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues are Soul in capital letters and the performance of “Lost Someone” was a great example. “Silver Stallions”, one of the highlights on the new album, unfurls with a mean slide guitar and taut solo from Judah Bauer. Together Dirty Delta Blues have matured into a muscular beast. They give the Bad Seeds a run for their money, delivering emphatic and repeated punches at the end of Metal Heart, a song that builds from a gentle beginning into a piledriver. The reworked “Metal Heart’ underlines how good Chan’s songwriting is, on par with any of the covered classics tonight. The version of “He’s Got You” is beautiful but laden with vitriol as Chan stresses the word “you” with real venom live. The evening ended all too soon with Chan handing out white roses. Even the five minutes of the audience calling for more with full house lights on and music playing could not be satisfied due to a strict curfew.
The following day at the Canal Plus TV studios seven songs were recorded for broadcast. In those controlled situations, a small audience and state of the art studio the songs were even better than the Bataclan performance. Watch out for it on Youtube – I am sure it will pop up as soon as it is broadcast in France.
Cat Power & Dirty Delta Blues will be appearing on BBC2’s “Later With Jools Holland” on Friday, February 1, as the show celebrates its 200th episode. Other guests that night include Dionne Warwick, Feist and Radiohead.