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Cate Le Bon Sells Out

January 17th, 2014

Cate Le Bon – Mercury Lounge – January 16, 2014

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

Cate Le Bon’s 2014 is off to a solid start. With her fantastic 2013 release, Mug Museum, finding its way onto several year-end best-albums lists (including Bradford Cox’s list), Le Bon’s supporting the album with a string of U.S. shows, many of which are selling out, including last night’s early show at Mercury Lounge. The venue was practically at capacity for the final songs of opening set by Kevin Morby, bassist of the fantastic band Woods.

Unlike many other singer-songwriter Brits, Le Bon’s accent finds its way into her singing voice, adding a certain degree of endearing charm to her airy alto voice floating above her band’s treble-filled syncopated guitar lines. It has traces of Nico’s singing voice with the Velvet Underground, just in a slightly higher register. For those who have ever listened to her recordings and wonder where the high backing vocals come from, it’s not Le Bon’s voice double tracked but the falsetto voices of her all-male backing band. There’s something pretty astounding about watching three guys sing backup harmonies in falsetto.

And it’s all the more astounding considering they can pull it off live while playing other instruments, like on the jaunty guitar riffs carrying out the end of the wonderfully catchy “Are You with Me Now?” The multitalented Le Bon switched between guitar and organ throughout the set. One song even featured a recorder solo (yes, those recorders), after which she made the audience promise not to publish any photographic proof of it because “that’s just not fair.” Le Bon wraps up the remainder of her January with the second half of her U.S. tour before returning to England for a string of shows. So catch her while you can, just make sure not to Instagram any recorder pics.—Dan Rickershauser