Thursday, July 06, 2006

If we wanted perfect, we'd listen to the CD

"It's not, human," the singer said, pointing at the microphone, squirming on the piano bench at the one-woman concert last night at Greensboro's newest music venue, The Flying Anvil.

"She" is Cat Power, a Memphis soul-infused version of Patty Smith. At last night's show she and the sound man couldn't see eye to eye. She'd ask for more reverb, then it was less attack. What kept coming through the monitors made her absolutely sore in frustration. What's worse, she had absolutely nothing to hide behind on stage. It was only her, her piano, and what looked like a big brother's guitar she borrowed, but never returned.

She was clearly frustrated. The cement walls at the Anvil bounced the sound around and smacked her in the face again, and again, and you watched her wince every time it hit her. Crazy thing is she sounded absolutely beautiful. Even though she'd literally stop in the middle of the show and put her head down on the piano like Don Music, the frustrated puppet from Sesame Street, and apologize for it not sounding better.

"I'm ruining the show," she said and she'd nervously wipe the straight bangs from her eyes and smooth them back down again.

People shouted from the crowd: "You sound great!"

It couldn't appease her, though. No matter what you said she couldn't shake the critic in her head. All the shudders, winces, and contorted faces that it takes to hit that zone isn't always pretty, and I was grateful to take a seat to somebody's elses process. Reminds me how vulnerable music can be. Reminds me how it's more important to love music than master it.

Thank you Cat. It was a great performance. I'm sorry you didn't think it sounded better, but maybe Don could help you out.


Darcie Brown said...

Hehe - I love this clip. It brings back memories of hours of piano practice. After making the same mistake numerous times, I must admit to quoting Mr. Music's infamous words, "I'll never get it!" along with his piano pounding. For some reason, it helped me feel better. Probably because it's so silly.

Lori Burkhardt said...

Gosh, what memories... According to ~ "Don Music, the piano player who would bang his head against the piano in frustration, had to be discontinued when kids at home started doing the same thing."

I never banged my head on the piano as a kid. ;o)