Live Review: Cate Le Bon – The Cluny, Newcastle

‘Tis the season to be jolly and the crowd at The Cluny, for Cate Le Bon were definitely in festive spirits, plus with the start time later than scheduled, it seemed to be more drinking time for a few more!

Tim Presley started the night with his face painted in white and with a backing band in what appeared to be bed sheets with hoods.  Presley’s sound is somewhat on the psychedelic and upbeat side, although we also got a moodier and slower tune backed with heavy guitars in the track ER, just before he wrapped up his set by telling us of his love for the city of Newcastle. He thanked the audience just as a merry punter randomly burst into Delilah by Tom Jones, leading Presley to joke, “and this is the last song,” to many laughs from the audience. To those eagle-eyed members of the audience, as Presley thanked the band, some noted that the bassist was in fact Cate Le Bon. To the rest of us it was a case of blink and you missed it as that bed sheets with hoods were stuck quite in place.

As we wait, the room became tighter and the atmosphere merrier, one audience member even played his harmonica. Then the backing band we saw earlier returned, minus the bed sheets, but now complete in sparkly/glittery jumpers. Cate Le Bon then took to the stage in a white dress-jacket and an almost ‘power stance’ as she picked up a black electric guitar and opened up with Crab Day sending the crowd into a frenzy! Most songs seemed to be from her latest album of the same name, with Wonderful and I Was Born On The Wrong Day being stand out tracks.

The crowd remained very lively with one punter being quite lary, but Le Bon handled this well and declared that he is a great member of the audience, to which he replied many of us would disagree! As annoying as these moments can be, artists like Le Bon (and Presley) holding it together is a Godsend to the other paying public.  She gives a shout out to her bassist and exceptional artist in his own right Sweet Baboo, before delving into I Can’t Help You and then rocking out with We Might Revolve.

For the last number, Le Bon welcomed back Presley to rejoin them on the stage and unfortunately so does the merry-heckler/punter to which another audience member shouts ‘shut up!’ At this moment we felt Le Bon’s annoyance as she said, ‘did my mind just speak?!’ We love her for this and she gave us What’s Not Mine before heading off stage. As rowdy as the audience already was, the foot stomps then followed and Le Bon and band returned with tinsel wrapped scarves before giving us a rendition of Wham’s Last Christmas, with added Jingle Bells in the way only Le Bon could deliver.

It was a weird crowd. It was a merry crowd. It was a shouty crowd, but Le Bon shut us all down with her incredible performance, as powerful as her power stance!

Words & image by Victoria Ling


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