My Baby Live at The Borderline – 15/4/16

Pre-gig listening of My Baby proved to me that they were an intriguing band. The vocals were excellently poignant, captivating in their delivery and kept me tuned in. Whilst the majority of their music contained enough shuffling drum beats and grassroots bluesy infused guitar to lure me into a sense of anticipation about the prospect of these sounds live. Set in the lower dwells of London’s ‘The Boderline’, the group arrived fresh into town off the back of what was undoubtedly two blistering sets in Brighton and Bristol. Easing their way through London’s smog, My Baby somehow avoided any slap-back of rain and strutted on-stage looking like they had just walked off the streets of Hollywood boulevard, effortlessly disguising the fact that five minutes previously they were most likely traipsing the alleyways alongside rats and dogs just to get to the venue. After a widely successful tour last year which seen them play over 45 dates across Europe, the band have clearly expanded on their audience reach, quickly highlighted by the venue’s near-full capacity. For an hour and a half, the group treated all those present with a fantastic set that captured the imagination and displayed their capability to create sounds and ideas that simultaneously satisfy the senses and raise a few questions along the way. For a three piece, their sound is enormous. Not in the sense that you are greeted by guitars turned up to 11 or that they utilise samples, triggering them off left, right, and centre like an uzi being operated by a dog… no, no. What they perfectly achieve is what any good psychedelic band should be achieving, and that is to create an almighty and unearthly range of soundscapes that grow, expand and decay without you ever actually really noticing that these fluctuations are occurring. Many times I felt that I must have been listening to multiple instruments, only to look up and see the same three amigos on-stage who were of course only playing three instruments. Like-wise my brain receptors were constantly being tested to the maximum when I could hear guitar but see frontwoman Cato van Dyck playing violin, as well as the numerous instances when I could hear enchanting bass-lines only to be everlastingly presented with the bodies of six-stringed guitars. Most impressively though was the band’s ability to enter the territories of different genres within the framework of one musical piece and pull it off so effectively that you were left with enough surprise to keep you intrigued but penetrated enough with solid grooves to keep you dancing all-the-while. Often one of the two guitars would spill out lower-end, trance-like repetitions that were soaked in delay and bright reverb to create vibes that usually are tied up in DJ decks, whilst the other would play the laidback, feel-good, cut-throat slide guitar that we have come to associate with chilled times and Seasick Steve’s beard. Different stylistic ideas indeed, but they were held together by the group’s fantastic drummer Joost van Dyck who kept the jigsaw in place with perfectly molded beats that dipped in and out of disco, funk and all that goes in-between to ensure that they all three members, regardless of how much they’d strayed from home, came back to lock-in effortlessly together. My only criticism is that perhaps the band lack some strong melodic hooks or refrains that, even if they are present, didn’t seem to quite come through live. An anthemic sing-a-long is maybe the only thing separating these guys from The Borderline and the big time. However, I’m a firm believer in you get what you give out, and as our captivating front-lady on the night stated, ‘I want electric boogie’, and electric boogie is what we all got.

 

My Baby My BabyWords by Robbie Cully

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