Correction: This review originally referred to the opening band, ESP, by the wrong name.
I was nervous walking up to the Palladium last night. What if Cat Power didn't show up? What if she had a meltdown? She's know for storming off stage if the sound isn't right.
Due to the rough year Cat Power has had, however, it's easy to forgive her for being unpredictable. If your boyfriend of five years broke up with you and married an English supermodel, you could be forgiven most things. Compound that with bankruptcy, the cancellation of her European tour, and a serious inflammatory illness, and getting out of bed suddenly looks heroic.
8:31 PM: The Palladium looks like the bottom of a pool at night, clad in dark blue light that ripples along the walls. The opening band, ESP were made up of two guys and a girl clad in white, looking like escapees from a baptism. A small amount of diehard fans are clustered around the stage swaying as the soft, ambient electronica washes over them. Whenever the synths do anything remotely interesting there is a swell of pleasure through the crowd.
9:19 PM: I would pay good money to find out how these guys got on the bill. The second opener The Goat takes the stage, and it's odd because you just don't see many hardcore bands opening for indie chanteuses these days. Shaven head, white long t-shirt, clad in tattoos, the lead singer looks like he would not be out of place in a police lineup. He is hell bound determined to get a mosh pit going tonight. With this refined crowd, he hasn't got a chance, but he does manage to charm some drunk girls clad in leopard print coats who begin chanting "Take off your pants! Take off your pants!"
9:48 PM: These guys are beginning to grow on me. The set is comprised of songs about picking up hookers on Sunset and La Brea "$20 she likes you, $40 she loooves you," convincing people to go to your show, and drinking -- the bassist shotguns an entire beer while the lead singer screams "Waasted!" All of their songs are direct and uncomplicated. They've inspired a man dressed in a cape and a kilt to begin spinning in the middle of the floor on the left side of the stage, clutching his cane victoriously. Eventually he runs out of gas and collapses into a puddle of cloth, lying spread eagle on the floor before dragging himself by the arms to the edge of the dance floor. If The Goat was clever, they would hire him to dance at all their shows.10:28 PM: Bob Dylan's "Shelter from The Storm" begins playing and Cat Power's band takes the stage. Please let her show up.
10:34 PM: She's here! Thank God. Dressed in black, her newly shorn blond Mohawk gleaming in the stage lights, she grabs the microphone and leans her body over the crowd with her low smokey voice as cool as dark glass. Looking perfectly at ease she opens with "The Greatest." Wandering up and down stage like a general she takes time to look everyone in the front row in the eye to make sure we're paying attention. She's got us.