Cat Power (Photo by: Tony Proudfoot)

Cat Power played a gorgeous solo set at the Observatory North Park last Saturday night.

Everything you’ve heard about a Cat Power performance is true: the unclear song transitions, random pauses, entertaining monologues, gorgeous vocals, and the genuine, vulnerable, heartfelt performances all happened when the beloved and legendary Chan Marshall (better known by her stage name “Cat Power”) played the Observatory North Park on Saturday, July 1st.

Initially, you could hear a pin drop as Cat Power started her set. But, as the night went on, half of the audience turned into a raucous Saturday night party crowd as the other half tried to pay attention. One woman told a group of loud teenage girls to “shut up because everyone hates you right now.” It felt strange to see the divide in the audience and even stranger to see people party to Cat Power’s mellow folk music – but that might be a function of any given Saturday night in North Park. People want to party no matter what’s playing.

The louder audience members didn’t seem to throw Marshall, who is sometimes known to get distracted by things happening off stage. If anything was bothering her, it was the sound. However, she felt apologetic to the sound engineer. “It’s not him, it’s me,” she told us.

Marshall played most of her set on the piano, mixing in some on the guitar. Her simple accompaniments and lack of a full band really made her voice shine – truly a treat if you’re familiar with her warm, breathy vocals. Marshall doesn’t have any recent releases, playing all the favorites including “The Greatest,” “Ruin,” and “3,6,9.” Her voice was highlighted, garnering even more appreciation from the crowd, but leaving a wanting feeling for the lush, live instrumentation from albums like Sun.

Although she’s probably well aware of how beloved she is, she still felt the need to tell her San Diego audience that “you guys showing up in a major way like this means a lot.” A collective “awww” was heard round the theater when an audience member handed the singer a single red rose and baby’s breath bouquet.

Review by: Lara McCaffrey