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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mp3s: Cat Power at the MFA Boston

This year has easily been the busiest and most media-exposed Chan Marshall has been since she started performing as Cat Power a dozen or so years back. It's seemed non-stop since the release of her seventh studio album, "The Greatest", back in January: The abrupt cancellation of the supporting full-band tour for "health reasons", its eventual rescheduling, the revealing New York Times piece, a solo tour, a job as 'the new face of Chanel Jewelry', and now a final tour with the Memphis Rhythm Band starting this Wednesday. Dozens of articles, interviews, live sessions, and media appearances, including tonight on Conan O'Brien.

As I wrote back in June after seeing her here in Boston, reports of her steadier and more confident live persona were not at all exaggerated, especially in the presence of that rock-solid backing band she'd pulled together. Hints of the old Chan showed during a short solo portion of the show, but it disappeared when the Memphis Rhythm Band came back out on stage. The night was an uplifting one, a word I certainly wouldn't have used for past shows, which ranged from slightly uncomfortable to emotionally draining, yet still somehow beautiful. It seemed as if those shaky days were long behind her... until she appeared solo at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston early last month.

It was the second show of the night in the museum's Remis Auditorium, after an earlier one that by all accounts went pretty smoothly. Unfortunately whatever comfort level she had with the monitor mix didn't carry over to the later set... Chan's always been particularly sensitive to sound problems, preferring to bail on songs rather than toughing things out, and did exactly that after starting a cover of "House of the Rising Sun". Some adjustments, and another attempt... still no go. She eventually moved on to her own "Love & Communication", coming close to making it through before stopping yet again. More sound issues, tuning problems, and getting somehow distracted by the stage-side soundman during "Wild Is The Wind" (who had no choice but to stare at her in case she indicated a level change, poor guy)... halfway through the show it felt like she hadn't made it all the way through a single song, although the recordings below reveal it wasn't as bad as all that. There was palpable tension in the room, especially after she abruptly left the stage for a few minutes for a self-proclaimed pee break. More than a few of us wondered if she would return.

But she did, and while the apologizing continued, the technical problems (or perceptions) disappeared. As she continued to sit behind her piano or strum her guitar, the awkwardness evaporated and the sparse beauty of her songs took over. When she'd add another "I'm sorry", some in the crowd let her know that everything was ok... and the applause were loud, the cheers enthusiastic, we became one big support group trying to hold her up. In the end, she pulled out of what could have been a tailspin to simply soar. Emotionally draining, indeed.

I'd actually considered not sharing this one up, or at least particular parts of it. But I fall on the side of the full experience, and I think the show as a whole is worth hearing, warts and all. It was a bear to edit down, and I did make one little chop, offering the original interrupted version of "Wild Is The Wind" alongside an edited one that removes the break.

Getting good pictures at this show was near impossible, as flash photos would have intruded on the mood even more, and the lighting was appropriately low. Glad I got a shot of one of the few times she smiled that night, though. Here's the solo set...

Some Cat Power links...
  • Boston blog synapticblur was at the same MFA show, and offers up a brief review.

  • Vancouver-based From Blown Speakers saw the August 27th show up there and wrote that one up as well.

  • For another Canadian's perspective, check out Chromewaves' words and pictures from the Toronto show, which happened the night before the Boston stop.

  • For the 'records' was there in Toronto, too, and shares some thoughts.

  • The Boston Phoenix's music blog, On The Download, shares up Mark E. Moon's review of the show as well, dubbing it her "MFA Meltdown".

  • Cat Power's MySpace page, her Matador Records site, Wikipedia entry, and an album site for "The Greatest".

  • There've been two videos from "The Greatest" so far: "Living Proof" and "Lived in Bars".

  • Cat Power's last U.S. tour with the Memphis Rhythm Band behind her starts in a couple weeks after some dates overseas and a solo appearance at the Bob Dylan tribute show at NY's Lincoln Center on November 9. All date details can be found here.

  • And don't forget about her Conan O'Brien appearance tonight...

  • the fine print... If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (contact info in the 'nac faq). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.


    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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