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CATE LE BON @ Rosemount gets 8/10

Cate Le Bon @
Rosemount Hotel
w/ Nicholas Allbrook
Monday, December 9, 2019


Cate Le Bon treated the faithful to a great set on Monday night at the Rosemount, managing to both capture her inimitable sound live and imbue familiar tracks with some welcome rock energy.

Nicholas Allbrook

Pond frontman and local hero Nicholas Allbrook opened proceedings with an atmospheric solo set. He leaned heavily on looped samples and beds of swelling synth chords, occasionally layering flute and electric piano. It ran the risk of all sounding a bit pretentious were it not for Allbrook’s signature vocals, impassioned and on the verge of cracking. It brought the material down to earth and the crowd to rapt attention in what was an effective opening to the night.

Cate Le Bon

Cate Le Bon and band entered with minimal fanfare and launched straight into an opening salvo that made one wonder if they were going to play through Le Bon’s latest LP, Reward, track-by-track. The album’s opening three songs sounded excellent live. Melancholy Miami stretched out, giving Le Bon’s vocal more room to breathe. The baritone sax was the star of the night second to the lady in chief, its forlorn riffs particularly shining on this track. Daylight Matters saw Le Bon pick up the six string and play out a looser, rockier version of a crowd favourite. Home to You followed and was one of the highlights of the show. It was a pleasure to hear the xylophone-driven groove recreated in all its glory, and the track sounded twice as punchy live courtesy of Le Bon’s powerful vocal and some brilliant bass flourishes.

Cate Le Bon

It what was a theme throughout the night, Le Bon and band showing a different edge live. These tracks captured all the quirky charm of their studio counterparts, but the amplification brought the instruments and their interplay more clearly into focus and highlighted how excellently composed these art rock numbers are. You Don’t Love Me had much more swing live, turned into a powerful pop rock track courtesy of rumbling bass and energetic sax blasts. The Light had a jammier feel, Le Bon’s vocal more playful than on record. The jittery one-two punch of Mother Mother’s Magazines and Magnificent Gestures saw the band navigate some stop/start dynamics perfectly, getting the crowd moving with their herky-jerky rhythms.

Cate Le Bon

If anything could be levelled against the set it would be that some older material didn’t make the cut. Crab Day, Are You With Me Now? and We Might Revolve were some sorely missed tracks. Crab Day favourites Love Is Not Love and Wonderful did pop up though, the latter featuring a caterwauling drum breakdown that blew the song apart then restitched it back together again.

Fittingly, the set concluded with some album closers. What’s Not Mine was a welcome jam, the song’s chugging guitar riff and sax stabs giving way to a fuzz-drenched guitar solo from Le Bon, 10 times more effective than on record. Meet the Man ended on the same note as we began with Miami. It was Le Bon’s strongest vocal of the night – unique, haunting, and beautiful. Much like the gig itself.


Photos by Linda Dunjey

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