Juliette Lewis, Cat Power, and The Pretenders at The Malkin BowlPhotos by Alex Ramon
With summer ending and the sun fading in the horizon, outdoor shows will soon become a distant memory. The beauty of being in such a lovely environment such as the Malkin Bowl is something I don’t take for granted because once winter comes rolling along these joyous days will become nonexistent. Whenever I get a chance to watch someone as entertaining as Juliette Lewis or as talented as The Pretenders, I pinch myself just to see if I’m dreaming. The weather may have been fading into fall, but the summer air was still running wild and it was a perfect day/night to catch a live performance at The Malkin Bowl.
As Juliette stepped out, she commanded the stage with her infectious personality. With a Michael Jackson like outfit, white gloves included, Juliette pranced around like the rock goddess she is and electrified the crowd to a stand still.
It didn’t matter what the lovely Lewis played because her performance value made for a memorable and enjoyable set. As she played her new track “The Devil Knows,” Juliette showcased her powerful and raw vocals, all the while posing in vogue like manner for the crowd (and cameras) to watch. It may have been a new song, but people grooved to it regardless of not knowing the words. Even when she slowed the pace down, the energy was still rampant up on stage and that’s a true testament of a mature and successful rock band. There were no boring moments, and Lewis was by far the star of the night.
In my opinion, Juliette Lewis is the prototypical front woman. It wasn’t just her strong, unique vocals that impressed the crowd; it was the energy she provided that gave that extra lift. She constantly made eye contact and urged the unsuspecting audience to jump along to her brand of power rock, all the while maintaining her femininity. She provided a strong basis as a leading female role model, as her sex appeal shined threw the grey clouds, while she left her soul on that stage.
As her set came to an end, she brought out her supporting band up front, and in a classy manner, bowed to a loud and receptive applause. She was a joy to watch but don’t worry if you missed her set because she will be back in Vancouver this coming October to play at The Commodore, so make sure you check her out if you get the chance.
Cat Power, also known as Chan Marshall, came out on stage and switched gears and slowed the night down to a staggering but majestic pace. With the crowd set on their blankets, she showcased her tender soul to everyone in attendance. Her melancholy tunes, combined with her graceful movements were the perfect precursor to what we had in store for the rest of the night.
She has a very old sound, something you wouldn’t expect from such a tiny package. Her voice was undeniably soothing, but at the same time had so much soul that she could be signed to Motown as opposed to Matador. With each tune, she exposed her love for music and displayed why she will be a mainstay in this dying industry. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be remembered for years to come.
She is a very talented woman, and the crowd truly understood, because after each song, there would be a loud applause followed by screams and whistles. As the crowd acknowledged this lovely lady, Ms Power returned the favour by singing her little heart out. It was an honour to watch her perform and will be a lasting memory for all those in attendance.
With the light barely peering through the grey clouds, the stage was set for the glorious Pretenders’ set. The stage itself was draped in purple and black cloth, as spotlights shined on each respective member and the backlight provided the intimate atmosphere of an Orpheum, but the trees surrounding the bowl reminded us all that we were in the heart of Stanley Park. With the energy at its peak, the crowd was anxious for The Pretenders to make their presence known.
Comprised of Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers, Eric Heywood, James Walbourne, and Nick Wilkinson, the Pretenders played a stunning set that left everyone in awe. The sitting bunch finally got to their feet as the sound waves blistered the atmosphere, as this legendary band hit the stage at The Malkin Bowl. They brought the energy back up and the happy feet of leading lady Hynde made their set that much more enjoyable.
Each member displayed something special, a trait that makes this band so renowned. Lead guitarist James had innovative guitar riffs as well as Michael J Fox like dance moves while drummer Chambers effortlessly displayed his intricate drum fills. Bassist Nick and keyboardist/musical extraordinaire Eric both had melodic interludes that delighted my eardrums, while lead singer Chrissie Hynde showcased her edgy, yet deep and passionate vocals that make her so memorable.
When Eric Heywood brought out the lap steel, the entire band changed into a country-ish like group that may have swayed my opinion on that certain genre. All in all The Pretenders put on an epic performance that left the fans satisfied with their musical hunger. I was honoured to have witnessed such a historic night, where the females got up on stage and showed us all why that “rock” isn’t just for the boys.