Dutch/NZ totem-rattlers MY BABY are such an odd proposition on paper, but in the flesh it all makes total sense. In the studio the band tend to lean a little heavier on weird electro-clash but here, stripped back, with the reverb cranked up, they make for a serious live draw.
A solid opening performance came from John Fairhurst whose gravelly voice was only ever barely audible over his virtuoso playing. His hands jumped up and down the frets like they were independent from the rest of his body. His ending track, ‘How Far How Fast’, an improvisational piece inspired by Fairhurt’s travels in Morocco and Africa, was one of the most magnetic performances we’ve seen all year. The tempo came and went, there was slide guitar, plucking, tapping, and at one point he actually re-tuned the guitar mid performance.
MY BABY arrived with a minimal of fuss. Guitarist Daniel Johnston welcomed the crowd to the front, and that did for a riotous night of blues rock. Whilst I was unsure what exactly witchy woman Cato van Dijck was actually singing, besides vague bluesy platitudes (‘I went down to the delta / Oh the trouble I’ve seen / Hey that dog of mine’), she commanded a serious presence. Strumming a fiddle, guitar, and ethereal wailing (not all at the same time) she was the beating heart of the group.
The die-hard MY BABY fans at the front of stage distinguished themselves by their demonstrative love of MY BABY. Or maybe just their love of cocaine. Or both. There was also a lot of grey-hairs in the room, with lots of dad-looking 60 year olds in attendance, presumably with fond memories of Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page.
The two high-peaks came towards the end with an extended rendition of ‘Seeing Red’ and the red-neck barn burner ‘Uprising’.
It’s rare we go all-out on a gig, especially when you review them as a vocation. However MY BABY were absolutely electric. It was the best gig we’ve seen all year. The playing was precise, the atmosphere was fantastic. It was a good old-fashioned hoe-down, and for an hour or so the Brudenell was transformed into a prohibition Speakeasy. Next time they come to town, we will definitely be there