Gig review: Cate Le Bon

Cate Le Bon has come from fringes to take centre stage. Picture: Contributed
Cate Le Bon has come from fringes to take centre stage. Picture: Contributed
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WELSH chanteuse Cate Le Bon (no relation to Duran Duran frontman Simon, incidentally) has been an interesting fringe figure for the past few years, but has come into her own on latest album, Mug Museum, allying her otherworldly folky vocals and melodies to economical bursts of psych guitar and an ever greater use of analogue synthesizers and motorik rhythms which pushed this set along with the punk momentum of The Velvet Underground.

Cate Le Bon

Electric Circus, Edinburgh

****

Her partner and bandmate H Hawkline, who had earlier played an engaging support set with the self-same band and Le Bon impassive on guitar, supplied heady high harmonies – higher than Le Bon herself who has something of the precise, clipped intonation of Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico, though Le Bon’s voice is more demure and musically accented.

Pitch in her deadpan countenance and occasional flirtation with a rock’n’roll stance and you get an oddly magnetic star quality.

Highlights of an engrossing set included the offbeat, beguiling Are You With Me Now? and the kerb-crawling bass and tribal yawp of Wild, heralded by Le Bon with a call for both whisky and, yes, wildness from the audience.

The liquor and the abandon never quite materialised, with the crowd so absorbed in the moment, so Le Bon herself let rip with some acidic guitar on the closing Fold The Cloth before returning to the stage solo, to deliver an impish, acoustic version of Frank Mills from the musical Hair which, like all good covers, sounded like something Le Bon would have written herself with its mix of whimsy, quirky detail and charismatic character.

Seen on 16.09.14