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Cate Le Bon At Amoeba, Wednesday April 30th 2014

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Cate Le Bon

My appreciation for Cate le Bon actually grew during her set, she got more and more surprising as well as loud and louder. What started as a series of relatively quiet and reflective tunes with sparse guitars, transformed itself into songs with furious and trashy guitars. It was a bit like going from Nico to Thee Oh Sees in half an hour… Effectively, the Nico comparison comes back very often in the reviews of her new album ‘Mug Museum’ that she was promoting with an in-store performance at Amoeba on Wednesday night. Honestly I didn’t really hear it live, but I could see what they meant when listening to her recorded albums once home.

Her music was pleasantly surprising, bringing some novelty at each song, exactly like her vocals, going from the detached morose tone of her singing during certain songs to a more plaintive ambiance, from angelic dreamy vocals to long high-pitch howls screaming crazy,… she had quite a range. May be it’s because of her name, Cate Le Bon, Kate the Good, the Great, but she totally had the pride of a queen, holding her head high with the most serious sight you have ever seen, and rhythmically shaking her hair like a horse pawing the ground. She didn’t say much during the set, I don’t even think she announced the title of a single song, rather she was concentrated on her songs, playing with great precision her complex and moody music.

And her music was a rich universe haunted by the weirdest pop of the 60s, sure, the Velvet Underground or even the Doors come to mind during, for example, ‘Cuckoo Through the Walls’, ‘Wild’ or ‘Sisters’, but what followed was some real let-unleash-everything instrumentals stretching the songs to new levels of psychedelia. It is always astonishing when you see for the first time a band you have never heard before and immediately recognize greatness.

Cate is Welsh, but she has recently relocated in Los Angeles and I can only approve when interesting artists like her choose my hometown! After a show with Franz Ferdinand the previous night at the Wiltern, she will hit the Californian desert on May 17th, for Deserted at the Palms Music Festival, with Thee Oh Sees and many others… did I mention them before? There is currently a craze for these festivals in the middle of nowhere, I have seen a few popping up recently and of course, I blame Coachella’s success for this new trend. Cate’s relocation is a bold move, from rainy green Wales to dry hot California, but there was something equally bold in her songs surprising in their directions and showing abrupt changes or sudden discordance. I guess this is what pleased me the most during her set, her wild musical compositions, that she was remodeling with the fizziness of her guitar, contrasting with her cool, almost icy-but-not-in-a-bad-way on-stage demeanor which made her look like royalty.

More Pictures of the show here.

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