Figures shifted under the red glow of stage lights at Brisbane's The Foundry (12 December).
Between each song, the musicians on stage would trade places adopting a different instrument to the one they played on the previous song. As the game of musical chairs played around her, Cate Le Bon stood firmly in the centre awaiting the next of her wonky symphonies.
The Welsh singer-songwriter has created a catalogue of exquisite psychedelic pop. This year has seen her gaining deserved acclaim and award-recognition for her fifth album, ‘Reward’. To cap off an amazing year, Cate has returned to Australia treating fans to a night of offbeat songcraft.Click here to read our recent interview with Cate.
A consistent sight during a set by The Goon Sax is the tangled guitar leads, as members Louis Forster and James Harrison swapped instruments with each song. Alongside drummer Riley Jones, the local trio used their opening set to debut new material in the works.
Their jangling indie pop expanded with the addition of a synthesiser, distortion pedals, and a drum machine that allowed Riley to move to the front on vocals and guitar, but the new songs still showed the band’s gift for melody. Future performances will surely see these songs evolve, and it will be exciting to see what directions they go in.
"Decorate your own discord," Cate Le Bon sang on opening song ‘Miami’. Staring wide-eyed at the crowd, her soft coo was accompanied by her backing quintet, from a slow shuffling beat and synth drone to two honking saxophones.
As the last notes echoed, band members shuffled to a new position, bumping shoulders as they passed each other. Their hands glided over each new instrument, masterfully performing breezy-pop tunes and discordant breakdowns.
Couples held each other close, swaying to songs titled ‘Love Is Not Love’ and ‘You Don’t Love Me’, oblivious to the lyrics beneath the gentle rhythms.
To be fair, Cate’s Welsh accent was difficult for some to comprehend as noted by the silent reaction to her introduction to a sprightly cover of ‘Habit Of You’ by Arthur Russell. “Do you hate Arthur Russell?” she asked. A fan caught the name the second time, whooping upon recognition. “You are my favourite person in all of Brisbane,” Cate deadpanned.
Saxophone notes see-sawed upon the belching bass groove of ‘Mother’s Mother’s Magazines’. Heads in the crowd bobbed to the rhythm’s bounce. A guitarist swaps to saxophone, adding to the honking storm. The beat’s pace quickens, and Cate shook her head as she scratched at her guitar strings.
Guitar notes wailed as they were bent out of shape, decorating the song in discord, but fans continued to bounce to the rhythm still in the background, their eyes mesmerised by the blood-red sight of Cate Le Bon.