Cate Le Bon – Hollywood Avondale June 5, 2022

Cate Le Bon put on a perfectly paced show to the delight of a house full of music lovers last night at the elegantly regal Hollywood Cinema in Avondale.

It was the music that was the focus of Le Bon’s 90 minute set…very little chatter, just five musicians on stage giving it their all.

Cat Le BonCate, who sang and played guitar, was accompanied by Euan Hinshelwood on sax and keys and Alex Morrison on keys and guitar. The two men flanked Le Bon on each side of the stage while the rhythm section of Dylan Hadley (drums) and Toko Yasuda (bass) supported from behind.

Le Bon’s latest album, Pompeii, was released just a few months ago and it made up the bulk of the setlist. We heard all nine songs from the record plus a hefty portion of 2019’s Reward.

Attempting to assign a genre to Cate’s music can be difficult. She’s been called avant pop (whatever that is)baroque pop, indie, folk…and, from what I heard last night I could add, dream pop, funk, glam, Krautrock, jazz and art rock. Simply put, her music is impossible to pigeonhole.

So, without overthinking the matter, it was best to just let the show reveal itself.

After a bit of a fanfare we got a trio of tunes from Pompeii beginning with Dirt On The Road which featured a honking sax part from Euan at the end, leading into French Boys, a tune that reminded me of Berlin-era Bowie…a walk on the dark side.

One could feel the show ebb and flow, build up and then subside. Despite a case of jet lag, Le Bon was in fine voice.

Cate Le BonThe set seemed to reach a climax with the funky Mother’s Mother’s Magazine, the drums and bass locking in like Chris and Tina from Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club. Magnificent Gestures followed giving drummer Dylan even more opportunity to shine as Cate gave her guitar a good seeing to, the instrument howling with pleasure and/or pain.

Cate did stop for a moment to say “thank you, so happy to be here”, but it was the music that did most of the talking.

Things then took a quieter turn with Miami, a restrained, ethereal number that was hypnotic, almost trance-inducing.

Then The Light turned on and the singer and the band headed for home,m closing out with Remembering Me and Wheel from Pompeii.

A low hum kept the crowd on their feet as we were quickly treated to Sad Nudes and, the oldest tune of the night, Are You With Me Now? From Cate’s 2013 album, Mug Museum.

Oh, and kudos to opening act Vera Ellen who was struggling with flu but came through thanks to support from her band and her fans.

As for Cate Le Bon, after last night’s performance, the one word I’d use to describe her sound is, “beautiful”.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

Cate Le Bon:

Vera Ellen:

Cate Le Bon Set List:

  1. Dirt On The Bed
  2. French Boys
  3. Moderation
  4. Daylight Matters
  5. Pompeii
  6. Running Away
  7. Cry Me Old Trouble
  8. Mother’s Mother’s Magazines
  9. Magnificent Gestures
  10. Harbour
  11. Miami
  12. The Light
  13. Home To You
  14. Remembering Me
  15. Wheel
  16. Sad Nudes
  17. Are You With Me Now?