Live Review: Cate Le Bon with Kevin Morby & Love Inks at Mohawk

Cate_Le_Bon_012914-8Cate Le Bon’s music fills me with an excited restlessness–perhaps because the ears process it as initially off kilter, slightly foreign but the heart and brain process it as brilliant, perfect, and definitively cool a split second later. The gap between these two moments causes any reasonable idea to fall out of my brain, and I simply want to shout, “This is freaking amazing!” I don’t think I’m alone. As I talked with Kevin Morby (who’s currently on tour opening for Le Bon) after the set he agreed with me emphatically. “Oh yeah, psh” he said almost scoffing, with that inflection that connotes a futility of being able to accurately express a thought. “She’s just amazing she’s…” he trailed off, shaking his head.

Cate_Le_Bon_012914-2Mohawk’s indoor room was packed on a mid-week night, and fans weren’t just hanging around nervously in the back of the room. Concertgoers had been hanging near the front of the stage all night waiting for Le Bon’s set, good-naturedly jockeying for position. Le Bon’s songs sounded as incredible live as they do on her most recent effort Mug Museum, balancing between technical precision and a loose grittiness. The songstress is an excellent guitar player; her fingers wander the fretboard casually, effortlessly, but with perfect timing and accuracy. Le Bon performed songs from her most recent full length as well as her last EP Cyrk 2, including standout tracks “Are You With Me Now,” “I Can’t Help You,” and “What is Worse.” Walking to my car after the show, I realized I hadn’t been this energized by a show in some time. If you get the chance to see Le Bon, take it.

Kevin_Morby_012914-2Kevin Morby of The Babies and Woods opened for Le Bon with a set of his edgy pop. His first solo album Harlem River abandons some of the truly gritty sensibilities of recent work by The Babies, instead focusing on austere melody and sparse song construction. Like Le Bon, Morby had his share of dedicated fans, including a few who stood center stage and sung along to almost every song. Morby delivered notable tracks like “Miles, Miles, Miles” and “Harlem River,” the title track from his newest LP. I’m a fan of all things Kevin Morby and couldn’t have been more thrilled to have him as support.

Love_Inks_012914-7Austin-based act Love Inks opened the night with a set of their minimalistic dream pop. The band released their 2nd LP Generation Club to positive reviews last year and has continued to play solid bills in Austin. Frontwoman Sherry LeBlanc conveyed to me her affinity for Cate Le Bon before Love Inks’ set, and her excitement was visible onstage. LeBlanc’s disposition seemed more jovial than usual as she danced through her band’s pop songs included crowd favorite “Black Eye,” the somber “Magazine Street,” and their cover of the David Essex/Michael Damian song “Rock On,” which they undertake to great effect.

Ultimately, the bill proved to feature three diverse acts that still worked well together. If you ventured out on this mid-week night, you were duly rewarded. Check out photos below. All images © Bryan Parker & Pop Press International. Click any image to open in slideshow viewer.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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