Cate Le Bon
Better than: Staying home to do laundry.
There were a strong trifecta of performances at everyone's favorite deep Beverly venue the Bootleg Theater last night. L.A.'s The Moor opened the show with a mellow set of piano/guitar/singing, which found every single person in the audience standing completely motionless while watching. Ryat came on next. A newish addition to the Brainfeeder family, she is Christina Ryat, an ultra-competant digital musician and vocalist who sang her ass off while simultaneously knob turning and button pushing the host of beat producing instruments laid out before her.
It was a compelling set that in moments evoked Brainfeeder guru Flying Lotus himself. Each song built to lush sound waves of digitally syncopated beats and loops and layers of Ryat's voice, plus a foundation of live bass guitar.
There was no digital trickey to Ryat's stunning vocals, as demonstrated when she took the mic and belted a stripped down solo that for a moment made the venue feel like an old school jazz club and made one wish that the crowd was smoking cigarettes and getting loose on bourbon (instead of Instagramming). Basically, there should have been more people there to witness Ryat's set, and the people that were there should have cheered more, and louder. But we'll all get another chance as this chick is going places, specifically to an upcoming installment of Low End Theory. So watch for that.
Then it was on to the main event. Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon is another woman with an instrument of a voice. Hers often errs on the side of spooky with a flatness reminiscent of Nico when playing in the lower octaves and a birdlike delicacy when lilting higher. This voice was the binding element of the straightforward psych pop rock that Le Bon and her three man band made with two guitars, drums and a synth. The quartet came onstage and wasted no time launching into a series of sludgy, raucous jams that effectively juxtaposed the delicacy of Le Bon's sing-song vocals. Leading the charge on guitar, Le Bon ripped through several righteously grungy solos in what turned out to be an all out rock show of loose, sixties influenced jams.
Taking heavily from Le Bon's sophomore LP Cyrk, and its companion EP Cyrk II, the set resided primarily in the minor chords and got loud in all the right places with the bassist and synth player lending perfectly harmonized backing vocals to Le Bon's scene stealer of a voice. The group effectively plodded through a excellent, heavy set that displayed the darkly whimsical go-ask-alice-in-wonderland quality that is a defining characteristic of Le Bon's musical output.
Mid-show, Le Bon invited attendees to come closer to the stage, assuring the audience that despite their appearance, she and the band were not actually feral. (They really didn't look haggard at all). “The last time we played this venue there were two people here,” the politely funny Le Bon said. “One was our manager and one was the bartender.”
Folks have wizened up since then, and with good reason. This intimate, triumphant return of a show was the last's on Le Bon's current tour, and the quartet closed the set with a cover of Wings' “Let Me Roll It.” Calling it, “the song of the tour” the jam brought out a soulfulness in Le Bon's singing and found every member of the band smiling widely as they played. The audience seemed similarly satisfied.
Personal Bias: Le Bon's Me Oh My was a circa late-2009 breakup album.
The Crowd: Much subtly enthusiastic head nodding and one extended (warranted) instance of fist pumping. And Aziz Ansari!
Random Notebook Dump : Whoever cuts Le Bon's hair is a genius.
Set list below.
Fold the Cloth
Puts Me to Work
Eyes So Bright
What is Worse”
Ploughing Out I
Ploughing Out II
Let Me Roll It (Wings Cover)