Anyone headed to Grand Central on Thursday and expecting the kind of storied onstage theatrics of Cat Power’s past will leave sorely disappointed. Like her namesake feline, the performer born Chan Marshall has sped through a series of new lives in quick succession over the past few years, to both her and fans’ benefit. In fact, even bringing up her famously unpredictable performances of the late ’90s and early ’00s seems besides the point now, but it’s become part of the Cat Power legend.
What her fans know, however, is that was a few Cat Powers ago. Since Marshall decamped to Miami Beach in the middle of the last decade, the salubrious effects of the sun and ocean have propelled her through a few different phases of musical exploration. For a few years, there, she turned into a brassy soul chanteuse, turning old rock and R&B classics into Southern rave-ups on her Jukebox covers album and in concert.
Now, with Sun, her first album of original material in six years, she’s zagged again, landing in the small overlapping sector of the Venn diagram of her various musical obsessions. As an unabashed hip-hop fan, she’s finally married a bit of the genre’s boom-bap with her slightly roughed-up, drawling croon. Each song reveals tracks on tracks on tracks, with disembodied vocal layers rubbing up against the occasional mechanized clang and, sometimes, a chord or two of syncopated, distorted guitar, but only for dramatic effect.
Marshall’s voice itself sounds, as before, both robust and ready to break at any minute, the common thread between her new artistic iteration and the old, relatively more straightforward singer-songwriter fare of yore. But her new predilections are only strengthened for this show by her choice of openers, which include a DJ and a female performer named Addiquit who nimbly crosses the lines between singing and rapping.
Still, some vestigial rock and roll still shines through, especially on the album’s last track, “Peace and Love,” a track with a fellow member of Miami-based music royalty, Iggy Pop. Will he turn up on Thursday? It’s a long shot, but Marshall herself should provide plenty of other pleasant surprises on her own.
Cat Power. 8 p.m. Thursday, October 11 at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $25 in advance; all ages. Call 305-377-2277, or visit grandcentralmiami.com