Skip to content

Cate Le Bon At Mercury Lounge, Friday, September 21st, 2012, Reviewed

After Cate Le Bon's set at Mercury Lounge Friday night, opening band Quilt's vocalist Shane Butler, puts an arm around my shoulder while enthusing, "We have opened for many, many bands but she was incredible".

Incredible she was. Cate Le Bon is the Welsh singer discovered by Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals) and a huge star in transition. Her voice is a beautiful instrument that would be as lovely performing English folk like Fairport Convention as the hard rock, she preferred last night. Catching her today is akin to catching Florence Welch five years ago: there is that sense of an impending chart explosion. 

Cate started her career singing in her native Welsh, and though she sings in English the lilt in her voice suggests her roots clearly. On stage she has an easygoing tude, joking how the band substituted one song on the setlist. The song the band chose was a folkier number to the consistently hard rocking numbers off one of this years two releases, Cyrk.

The set is a workmanlike rip through the songs we know best, played straight up no chaser and only the odd strong constructions, her love for songs that twist on bridges, leading you off and back on the main strip, out of the mainstream. Le Bon is a tall woman, dressed in black tights and a black dress, as though she has joined a covenant and her songs have a dark hued implication at odds with her self deprecated every woman on stage ambience. It is ordinary magic and unearnest seriousness.

Nursing her way through Cyrk, with a nod at Cyrk 2, Cate took her band through an hour of hard rock, influenced by the scene surrounds Gruff but not to the place where "Greta" isn't a child of Fairport Convention: it has the same lilt if not the same style.

Another name being conjured is Nico, and it is somewhat Krautrocking when the band plays an extended jam, but Cate has a superb voice and is nothing like the undertow of Nico: the secret to Cate is the voice, it has the haunting quality of a Wicca, it's like what you imagine Lewis Grossman's Magicians to be listening to for kicks. Otherworldly but firmly planted in the here, somewhere between concrete sidewalks and the mountains of Wales, occasionally with the feminine liquidity of the Atlantic Ocean.

This dichotomy steers us through the set, from "Julia" to "Fold The Cloth" to "Cyrk" is not untypical for the woman, and the first three songs: a modern timelessness, sometimes the melodies stick, sometimes the environment is the message. If Florence And The Machine channel Emily Bronte's novel, Cate has her eye on her poetry. They are the classroom dalliance, mindbending, walking daymares of lost and found. Like she is in New York but dreaming about other places.

All of it is good, all of it. Though Cate is one person who would improve in a bigger setting. I would love to see her at radio City Music Hall and with a larger band behind her. I wish she was in Florence land. And I was really surprised Mercury Lounge didn't sell out because Le Bon has the type of sound that is so big, yet without being ostentatious, that NYU kids should be insane over it. It is odd rather than strange, it is in search of its audience and the right opening slot behind huge success. if U2 still had opening acts, it would fit right in there.

A new song, "Newie" was a pure pop rocker, a blast of melody and energy and among the best songs of the set. And though Cate claimed we probably couldn't see the seams between set closing "Ploughing Out Part 1" and "Ploughing Out Part 2", we could of course, and the acid trip gone wrong "Part 2" was a spectacular close.

My bet is Le Bon will break Stateside. I don't see how she can't. And she didn't even play "I Lust You"

Grade: B+

Leave a Comment





Amazon_Smile_logo
LET-ME-HELP-LOGO

Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at smile.amazon.com

US Top Ten Singles Tracking 9-23-22 – 9-29-22

By Iman Lababedi | October 4, 2022 |

at the top of the singles charts and at the top of the movie box office

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1978 (Volume 10, Number 6) 

By Steve Crawford | October 4, 2022 |

I’m not taking the band QUITE as seriously as I once did

Rocky Kramer’s Rock & Roll Tuesdays Presents “Rocktober” On Tuesday October 4th, 2022 7 PM PT on Twitch

By admin | October 3, 2022 |

Rocky Kramer will be hosting “Rocktober” on this week’s episode of Rocky Kramer’s Rock & Roll Tuesdays on Twitch. Tune into Twitch on Tuesday, October 4th, at 7 PM PT for this amazing show. Rocky Kramer is a guitar virtuoso, often being compared to the greatest guitar players in the world. Rocky has performed on…

Stories of SURRENDER — The Book Tour With, Yes, Bono

By admin | October 3, 2022 |

“In these shows I’ve got some stories to sing, and some songs to tell…”

Best Of 2022: Albums by Artist In Alphabetical Order Through September 30th

By Iman Lababedi | October 3, 2022 |

heavy metal all killa

US Top Ten Albums Tracking 9-23-22 – 9-29-22

By Iman Lababedi | October 3, 2022 |

a scary 87K EAUs

Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Release 10-7-22 – 10-13-22

By Iman Lababedi | October 3, 2022 |

don’t let her father distract you

Kevin Morby At The Belasco Theatre, Saturday October 1st 2022

By Alyson Camus | October 3, 2022 |

his sonic landscape largely exceeds his simple roots in folk

The globally streamed 6 hour concert presented by Fenix360 and WOWtv for the “Let Me Help Inc.org Foundation” (a 501c3 charity) for “Children of the World”, Saturday, October 1st, 2022, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 2, 2022 |

between the needs of charity, the needs of empathy

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1978 (Volume 10, Number 5) 

By Steve Crawford | October 2, 2022 |

pretty heavy drama

Scroll To Top