Tag Archives: Mug Museum

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Cate Le Bon Shows The Bowery Ballroom a Good Time

January 27th, 2017

Cate Le Bon – The Bowery Ballroom – January 26, 2017

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Welsh musician Cate Le Bon has a unique sound—a voice not unlike the rich throb of Nico’s, with the addition of some amped-up exuberance and a penchant for jangly guitars. Last night at The Bowery Ballroom, Le Bon and her band brought a focused energy to their performance, highlighting songs from 2016’s Crab Day, as well as crowd-pleasing material from its predecessor, Mug Museum.

Le Bon and her band’s precision and cohesion came through in particular during their version of Crab Day’s “How Do You Know?” a song that culminated with the singer-songwriter staring out at the crowd, rhythmically nodding her head, almost robotically, to the beat, as she and her bandmates strummed a repeated riff, slowing down bit by bit. As the speed decreased, so too did Le Bon, mimicking a machine shutting down and eventually stopping, head and body limply hunched over her guitar. Moments later, she was suddenly upright again, launching into the jaunty “I Can’t Help You” and even letting out a few excited yelps at the end.

After performing some new material and bringing out the night’s opener (and Le Bon’s frequent musical collaborator), Tim Presley, to accompany the band on a few songs, Le Bon treated us to Mug Museum’s “Are You With Me Now?”—an eminently catchy crowd-pleaser that featured lovely backing harmonies from the band. It was a sweet nightcap, and if I had to answer the song’s question based upon crowd response, I’d give it a resounding yes: We are with you, Cate Le Bon. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

 

 

 

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Cate Le Bon Previews New Music at The Bowery Ballroom

April 12th, 2016

Cate Le Bon – The Bowery Ballroom – April 11, 2016

Cate Le Bon – The Bowery Ballroom – April 11, 2016
Cate Le Bon’s new album, Crab Day, doesn’t come out until Friday, but she gave The Bowery Ballroom a special Monday night preview of it, playing the whole thing straight through. Banana, who would also serve as her backing band, opened the show. She sat in with them as they played a set of lovely instrumentals: neat baubles of melody mixing the traditional guitar, bass, drums with marimbas and clarinet. Before they returned to the stage, a short film that combined the truly weird (like bare-feet-squashing-overripe-pomegranates weird) with some seriously groovy backing music written by Le Bon, played for the audience. At nearly 15 minutes, it was just long enough to make you feel uncomfortable, which seemed to serve its purpose.

Groovy, but slightly, delightfully weird, would be a good way to describe the set that followed. The opening number, the album’s title track, had a pulsing, inescapable rhythm that permeated the entire show, getting the crowd moving yet keeping everyone just off-kilter the entire night. Le Bon and Banana wore identical headgear—knit sun hats that looked almost like the ones French schoolgirls might wear in children’s books. But beneath the colored lights, they seemed to each fluoresce with a unique pastel glow, adding a beautiful quality to the already familiar-but-alien music. On songs like “Find Me,” Le Bon was a Welsh hybrid of David Byrne and Syd Barrett, the band swirling Eno-infused Talking Heads rhythms with a touch of surrealism.

With their multi-instrumentalism, Banana were a flexible counter to Le Bon’s otherworldly voice and off-center guitar playing. After announcing the start of “side two,” the ensemble seemed to go in for the kill, building on the grooves of the first half with a cool, long halftime Afrobeat outro on “How Do You Know?” and a shredding guitar jam from Le Bon on the set-closing “What’s Not Mine.” The encore featured three songs off of 2013’s Mug Museum with a more jagged punk sound that gave a different feel than the new material. It’s good to have both sounds in the bag and while Crab Day is still fresh off the presses, you can only imagine what’s next up for Cate Le Bon. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Nick Delisi | www.nickdelisi.com

(Cate Le Bon plays Rough Trade NYC on 5/5, and tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon.)

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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