wed 29/01/2020

My Baby, Concorde 2, Brighton review - Dutch three-piece deliver trance dance power | reviews, news & interviews

My Baby, Concorde 2, Brighton review - Dutch three-piece deliver trance dance power

My Baby, Concorde 2, Brighton review - Dutch three-piece deliver trance dance power

The best band you've never heard of set the night alight once again

Left to right: Joost & Cato van Dijck and Daniel Johnston

“Trance boogie,” states My Baby frontwoman Cato van Dijck before submersing herself in the rising tribal rhythm of “Sunflower Sutra". Trance boogie is, indeed, what My Baby do. The song is decked with floating flecks of glissando guitar from virtuosic New Zealand bandmate Daniel Johnston on the other side of the stage. “Sing with me, brother,” Cato demands with a smile and behind his drum kit her sibling Joost leans into his microphone and harmonises. Behind it all is a housey four-to-the-floor beat, but their sound is all organic groove.

The van Dijcks are Dutch and the band hails from Amsterdam. Four studio albums and seven years into their career, they’ve built up a hefty reputation as a festival-slaying, jammin’ unit. Their sound is somewhere between 1960s Santana and 1990s free party mainstays Ozric Tentacles, but also laced with a pungent seasoning of original funk and more than a pinch of MDMA-fuelled all night dance power.

The whole concoction is topped off with a charismatic shamanistic woman. Cato is a presence, sensuously feminine, firmly rock’n’roll but also appearing cosmically lost in their sound. Tonight she’s initially clad in a semi-transparent hooped robe affair that looks like something from a Seventies sci-fi B-movie, before losing it halfway through the set to reveal a long fishnet dress over a plasticized crop top and mini-skirt. That description makes it sound tacky but it’s not; combined with her scything locks and bindi, the overall effect is of a maga leading us all into a whirlwind of throb.

For some reason, despite there being no club night on later, the venue has insisted on starting the gig stupidly early and shutting it down by 10.00 PM, which means we – and a good few others – miss the first few songs. But My Baby have a way of sweeping their audience quickly into their sound so, while not ideal, it doesn’t spoil the night.

The tour celebrates a forthcoming live album. Performing is what they’re known for but their albums offer concise, hookier versions of songs and shouldn’t be disregarded. The set scuttles back’n’forth around their career, dipping into their most recent album, Mounaiki – By the Bright of the Night, turning “In the Club”, which is a bit electro-swing on record, into something much more propulsive. Everything is underpinned with the bandana-clad Johnston’s outrageous guitar skills. He runs the gamut from Howlin’ Wolf to high-pitched Moog-like synth noises in the space of one song.

The set climaxes with an encore that is pure jam. “Sly is our number one,” says Cato and the three of them push the euphoric tension levels up as they swerve about the career of Sly & the Family Stone, not exactly playing a medley, more extrapolating from classic cuts such as “Everyday People” and “Sing a Simple Song”, before ramping everything up with “I Want to Take You Higher”. They are in synch, passing musical motifs between each other with absolute ease, enjoying it. If they’d been around to play San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom in 1967, they’d have ruled it, such is the kernel of psychedelic intent at the heart of what they do. But they are here. They are now. Which is happy news for festival-heads everywhere.

Below: Watch My Baby "In the Club" live at Lowland Festival

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