There is something irresistibly intriguing about Cate le Bon.
The show began insanely early. Iarrived not long after seven and had already missed half of the setfrom openers Pigeons. Pigeons are another band that is difficultto… well, pigeon-hole. The first recordings I’d heard of the bandfeatured songs sung in French, but apparently they hail from theBronx. Lead singer Wednesday Knudsen (which sounds like a name onlyJonathan Lethem would think up) is extremely tall and too skinny even to be a model, and her shoulders curl slightly over her guitar likea Madonna over Baby Jesus in a Mannerist painting. I caught Pigeonsas a two piece at a CMJ showcase last October, but here the bandplayed with their full live lineup. For fans of psych folk, I woulddefinitely recommend catching one of their laid-back but beautifulsets. I would also recommend doing some kind of drugs beforehand.
Cate took the stage just before eighto’clock, shrouded in a floral smock, her perfect auburn bobsilhouetted by blue lights, bangs bluntly cut just above her smokey eyes. Herclarion voice was in top form as she tore through the set, and I wasextremely impressed by the way she handled her guitar, at turnsculling somber tones from the instrument and then wailing high notesat the next. She belted out the lyrics in measured breaths, swayingwith each beat but focused intensely on playing rather thanposturing. She implored the audience to come to the show in Hobokenthe following night – with emphasis on the second syllable ofHoboken rather than the first, yet was gently teasing in explaininghow to properly pronounce the title of the record – SURK, not KIRK. Her backing band was as instrumentally versatile as she, rotatingkeys and guitars comfortably through renditions of “Put To Work”,“Falcon Eyes”, “Me Oh My”, “Julia”, “Cyrk”, “FoldThe Cloth” and others. Cate and Co. closed the set with both partsof “Ploughing Out” before she dramatically smashed her guitarinto her bassist’s, snarling the strings and leading astonished fansto believe there would be no encore, though it was not yet nine o’clock. However, after a brief absence, Catereturned for one more tune, this time at the keyboard. A video ofthe encore can be seen below.