Material: Cynthia Catania is a solo gal singing and playing guitar while surrounded by more electronics than a Guitar Center Superstore. The opening tune sets the mood for a dreary and strange hour of music and poetic phrasing. Pedals, loopers, keyboards and a drum machine take a backseat to Catania’s strumming as she sings gloomy, depressing songs about life and the detrimental side effects of living. The music is weird and makes you ponder the meanings of life, while the lyrics tell you stories of youthful hurt, women scorned and life lessons. The songs are reminiscent of Billie Eilish’s musical style, but then the lines are mixed in with Nirvana’s in-your-face lyrical content (and it doesn’t hurt to sound like Sarah Mclachlan) and *BAM;* Catania!
Musicianship: The vocals are supreme. Catania has extremely good control of her vocal abilities. She croons, she whines, she hits the low lows and the high highs with ease, taking you on a soul searching journey while telling you her story. Playing around with the looper and pedals helped generate a weird ambiance as the tones surrounded her with strange and bizarre sounds that, when all put together, made for a delectable dish. The guitar play was a little lacking, but Catania made up for that with vocal vibrato that soothed the soul and stories to make you wonder about your own life.
Performance: Catania had a cameraman who added visual effects that made things fun and interesting as he panned around the stage to show off all the equipment (and a nice washer and dryer). “Remember” has a very cool guitar riff that is cheery and upbeat and the lyrics are about a long lasting friendship with ups, downs and outs. Best tune of the set.
Catania stayed very involved with her audience. She answered questions and joked around as she prepared for her next song. It’s interesting that with all the low-key, gloomy songs that she performed, Catania proved to be a cheerful and happy person who came off very likeable and approachable.
Summary: Catania is a lot of different styles going off at once. From ‘60s psychedelic to ‘90s grunge to poetic artistry––she is all of them wrapped up in a nice little package. Songs like “Frames” and “Forever Goodbye” make you feel what Catania is feeling; frustration, hurt and sadness, and that sadness courses throughout her music. Hurt and frustrated almost to the point of giving up––but always coming through on the other side––her superb vocals carry you through the performance (even when the songs melt into one another). Harvey Bass would be so proud.
Players: Cynthia Catania, guitar, vocals