When it comes to crafting mystery with smart hooks, look no further than Welsh-born Cate Le Bon.
Now six albums into her career, she belongs to an idiosyncratic group of pop alchemists, strong on visuals with a knack for infectious, left-field melodies (ie. Kate Bush).
At Toronto’s Great Hall, every track in her performance uncannily fit like a glove, making for a fluid, unhurried pace over a 90-minute set.
Arriving in front of her fans cloaked in a long cassock dress, like a choirmaster (or occultist), Le Bon was supported by an impressive team consisting of sax, keyboards, bass, and deft drumming.
Starting with Dirt on the Bed, the opening track to her latest album Pompeii, its churning slow build mirrored the onstage haze of dry ice and colours, in turn emphasizing her pentagonal neon orange guitar. Unsurprisingly, it would stay strapped to her for most of the show.
Despite a controlled persona, Le Bon’s bewitching sound delivered a certain type of aura that made songs such as French Boys so alluring live. Warmth seemed to also radiate from her chiming guitar flourishes, in particular, the addictive Moderation and fan-favourite Mother’s Mother’s Magazines.
Increasingly defying categorization and logical description, she has nevertheless established herself – with the help of her newest work – as one of indie rock’s great eccentrics. As the night wore on, the crowd grew more and more connected to Le Bon’s flawless vocals and spot-on playing. With the help of her band, expertly weaving leads and harmonies, it made for a resoundingly magical July night.