Tonight, Cate Le Bon dedicated the song ‘Miami’ to the late great Julee Cruise: a fitting reference to the style and enigmatic sounds of the Lynchian favourite – elements that Le Bon herself displayed throughout this bavura performance as part of the Dark Mofo Festival. The creaky old Odeon Theatre played its part on this delicate and refined gig: the rich red velvet colours, bare wooden floors and soft plush enveloping seats upstairs creating a suitably opulent and slightly faded background.
Showcasing much from her recent album ‘Pompeii’, Le Bon’s vocals were ethereal at times, soft,muted with an expansive range and her delivery studied and enigmatic. The general dream pop fugue drifted into a krautrock motorik beat with ‘Mother’s Mother’s Magazines’ segueing into ‘Magnificent Gestures’ from 2019’s ‘Reward’- complete with an instrument swap and combined angular jagged rhythms that differentiated these tracks.
A saxaphone player multi tasked with guitars and keyboards and members contributed layered backing vocals. Particular acknowledgement should be made to the extraordinary bass playing interweaving with the muscular drumming. There was Mick Karn fretless sibilance and cadence to the bass: animated, expressive and roaming.
That very morning I had coincidentally dipped into Roxy Music’s classic ‘Avalon’ and found much in common with the production and sounds emanating from the stage: delicate, nuanced and crystal clear, an eighties shimmer and melodic strength. Le Bon’s songwriting is personal and raw and beautifully expressed while her delivery was almost disassociated and observational like something other wordly and ascendant.
As the Dark Mofo Festival begins to fade into the darkness at the edge of the world as we approach the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere, Le Bon’s performance was warming and transfixing, a boost of sonic melatonin in the late afternoon.
Dirt On The Bed
Cry Me Old Trouble
Mother’s Mother’s Magazines
Home To You
Are You With Me Now?
Feature Photograph and Gallery: Arun Kendall