Show Review: Cate Le Bon @ Mohawk (1/29)

Cate Le BonLike most shows I’ve attended as of late, I was pretty familiar with the acts playing.  But, that being said, I hadn’t caught a set from Cate Le Bon in several years, so I was interested in the performance, as I feel that she’s had a small transformation, in both sound and appearance.  It didn’t hurt that the openers were both excellent, making it an easy night to enjoy music. Read on for more thoughts and some photos.

It seems like Austin is finally catching on to the music of hometown act, Love Inks.  The release of their excellent Generation Club has seen audiences swell, and deservedly so.  They’ve created a nice blend of minimalist dream pop and sublime vocals.  Sure, Sherry Leblanc, who always seems happy to be upon the stage is a great focus of the band’s live set, but I just can’t get enough of the bass-lines.  I’m not sure what it is, but because the music leaves so much room for movement, the bass stands out with this huge sound pulsing sound. It amazes me how such a simplisitic set up can create such an intoxicating sound; here’s to hoping the star of of this act continues to rise.

And then there’s Kevin Morby.  I feel bad that his record Harlem River came out so late in 2013.  Had I spent as much time with it then, as I have by this point, it surely would have made its way into my list of Top Albums.  There’s something about his songwriting, both in Babies, and as a solo act, that involves all sorts of musical references.  There are nods to classic rock, especially when he goes into solo-mode on “Harlem River,” but you can also find this pop-centric songwriter who wants to create melodies while throwing down those great guitar licks. I really enjoy the way he holds and extends similars for emphasis.  While it was a rather subdued set, performance-wise, the quick run through of songs left the audience fully engaged, even when he paused for some Oklahoma banter while other members of his group tuned/fixed instruments.

If those two sets weren’t good enough, we were then treated to Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, fleshed out with three extra members added.  My first impression was a somber one, as Le Bon’s short black hair, black jumpsuit and heavy eye make-up definitely provided a drastically different image than the more innocent folk singer I saw a few years back. It’s like she went from Donovan to Patti Smith; I mean that in a good way, of course.  And while I enjoyed CYRK, the tracks on Mug Museum are brighter, a little bit more art-rock, rather than folk-influenced.  We were treated to those songs, and our photographer for the night, Daniel, remarked (rightly so) how the Cate did seem to have a songwriting process similar to Deep Time…not to mention the vocal affect.  It was a performance that illustrated the growing confidence Le Bon has in her voice and musicianship, leaving a lasting impression on all those in attendance.  Oh, and speaking of Daniel, you can check his photos below.

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