Providing a lo-fi acoustic gig in a church setting, Cate Le Bon alongside Sweet Baboo (otherwise known as Stephen Black) and Paul Jones in the form of Group Listening gave music lovers impetus to brush off their January blues for a Welsh night in the atmospheric St Lukes church.
St Lukes, firstly was dressed like I had never seen it before, with seats and balcony seats open for the audience to have a relaxed, intimate, sit-down affair with Cate, all the makings for a chilled vibe and more snug setting.
Group Listening were up first, beginning with The Dog, a discordant ballad, with only clarinet and piano to fill the silence. The duo, Paul and Stephen are entirely instrumental, downbeat, reflective and somewhat cinematic, subtlety comforting or discomforting pre-Cate. Performing tracks from Piano & Clarinet: Selected Works Vol. 1, Group Listening evidently take work from ambient musicians such as Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt and render them suitable for piano and clarinet. Idyllic for this stripped back, acoustic affair we had been promised, creating an atmospheric sound with the acoustics of the church space, Paul and Steve, also performed The Happy Whistler, which is originally by early electronic artist, Raymond Scott, a sheer delight of a performance before the main lass came on stage.
Packing out the venue in the prime of January’s blues, the wholesome, yet experimental Cate Le Bon was precisely what the audience were looking for, and she gave all that was offered and more (in the form of a Sweet Baboo alternating between clarinet and saxophone). From the offset, she makes it clear she is not to be taken too seriously, as she exclaims “I look like Barney from the Simpsons sat by this piano.” Performing tracks such as Love Is Not Love and I Think I Knew, we are indulged with Cate in a more intimate setting, simply her and Steve. There really is no end to what style of saxophone that Steve can play, as we see him alternate these like knickers during the hour. A wonderful way to begin the new year, a beatific and lo-fi gig with little in the way of demands, apart from listening.