Cate Le Bon at Bush Hall
A concert at Bush Hall feels like stepping back in time. The little brother to Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the relatively small venue is draped with all sorts of classy regalia – from the ornate mirrors that drape the walls to the chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. Whilst certainly well-attended, there was enough space for a lot of the crowd to sit around on the floor waiting for the main act to arrive. The whole place had the feel of an arty, Warhol-thrown party, an atmosphere compounded by Cate Le Bon herself.
The Welsh singer/songwriter is currently touring her third record Mug Museum, a pristinely produced slice of 60s pop that bears obvious influences from The Velvet Underground. Draped in a black smock and sporting an impressively thickly-fringed mop, Le Bon cut a rather aloof figure for the first couple of tracks. Any fears that she would play the rest of the set in cooler-than-thou silence were soon banished by her increasingly friendly chatter with the crowd. By the time she butchered older track Falcon Eyed, forgetting the chords to the chorus much to the playful mocking of her bandmates, the audience were more than happy to let it slide. “We must never speak of this again”, she bade them.
Le Bon played all but one of the tracks from Mug Museum, the vocals of Perfume Genius on the duet I Wish I Knew obviously too unique to allocate to one of her band. Cuckoo through the Walls, a recurring swathe of ominous, distorted guitar chords that descended into a squealing jam, was the real highlight. A handful of older tracks also received an airing, including Fold the Cloth, firmly established as a fan favourite.
What was most satisfying about the gig was the translation of the studio material to a live setting. Aside from the opening cut Mug Museum, performed by just Le Bon and a clarinet player, the set was lent a muscular, bold sound by her band. This was particularly true of Wild, the last song of the night, which became a thunderous burst of garage rock, with all of the band members joining as one to scream out the chorus – this show a rockier outing for Le Bon’s pristine pop.
Photos: Alejo Garcia
For further information and future events visit Cate Le Bon’s website here.
Watch the video for Fold the Cloth here: