On Sunday, May 29, American Cat Power finally made a stop at Salle Pleyel, in Paris, for a long-awaited party.
I had never planned to write about this Cat Power party at Salle Pleyel at all. I went there as a spectator, curious to see “Cat Power on Stage”, which I only saw at Théâtre du Châtelet for a short time as part of the recent Fnac Live Festival. I still haven’t really planned to write about it, because I’m not sure I’ll find the right words that would meticulously and concisely note the beauty of his concert wisely on Sunday, May 29.
With Cat Power, you never really know what to expect. At least that’s what I heard. It will be “limits”. She hated the scene and dreaded it almost to death. Yes, this may be true. During a brief phone interview last Thursday, to which we will return soon, she made clear her deepest desire to “become invisible,” for onlookers to close their eyes, and all disappear into the voice, the singing, the only worthy ones here and now.
Precise awkwardness, full control
That’s exactly what happens on a Sunday evening in Pleil. The scenography is wonderful, painting a haunted forest in the shadow of a woman dressed in black, her forehead covered with a fringe that has become legendary, her hair sweeping over her shoulders, sticking out, a microphone in her hand, a priestess of the forest, a witch of all witches. Cat Power is visible and does not disappear in the background, in her dress, under her bangs, but above all in her voice, which devours everything. Her voice is so terrible that it can make you die of pain and pleasure, grab a tender whip, reopen the wounds you thought were healed, and pour a white spirit on them before saying goodbye to mother’s soft kisses. Or maybe childish, we don’t really know. We feel it all in this wonderful sound that seems to tell the breaking of ages Like the windswept streets of New York Like the steep American landscapes Like the hole one struggles to fill Like the wine one drinks to fill Like the disintegration of love that tears the body Like the caress one puts on one’s hair Beloved is like a tree branch Knocking a room window like ice pours into a glass Like a cat We caress like a blade Plunge like a cozy home Like a denim suit In a parlor Like a piano bar With muffled cocktails Like his clumsy, touchy way of standing on stage, you happy and unable to know what It has to be done with your body. Precise awkwardness, complete control. The paradox.
We can dwell on the list of songs, but what’s the point when it’s all intertwined, weaving a crushing cavernous tuft. Surprisingly, regardless of whether she sings, Cat Power is pretty foolish otherwise, appearing on stage as if she appeared at a party, suddenly screaming “Fuck, I forgot to put Lou Doillon on my guess list!”, saying ‘hello’ to the people of her record company, Dominoes, and, above all, dance this dance of her own alone, like a strange pendulum, or the dance of a person uneasy about her envelope, or who might seek to find her balance so as not to be overturned in this sound that He risks carrying him and carrying us with him. But what a beauty.