We’ve seen MY BABY twice this year – the only band to have this honour – and it is thoroughly deserved. They are quite simply in a class of their own, and one of the most satisfying live bands currently touring.
The crowd enjoy the opening act Echo Town. Two brothers who split the duties of drumming and playing a series of guitars. Singer Richard engages with all manner of paraphernalia, including slide guitar played on the knee (lapslide), a didgeridoo and mouth box, playing all of them bare-footed (presumably a rider of touring with MY BABY.)
Echo Town play their own shows of course, but they should be opening for every band on the planet; all banter and no bullshit, that is what you want from a show opener.
When the drummer Joost and guitarist Daniel of MY BABY appear on stage, it takes the former riffing as unofficial MC before singer Cato is summoned from the mists of backstage, ever the witchy mysterio.
After three tracks gently ease the crowd into their propulsive blend of funk, blues and rock, ‘Cosmic Radio’ with it’s stomping Rock & Roll beat suggests the ante is being upped.
By the time ‘Uprising’ arrives, the venue is jumping. In a rare commandment from Cato van Dyck, the crowd is compelled to “take it up to 100%…and keep it there.” The front rows are first to comply, and as an extended version of ‘Seeing Red’ comes to a close, everyone is on their feet.
You may struggle to distinguish track-to-track, due to the murky, improvisational sound of the band, and the fact that much of their material is cut of the same cloth.
The playing is ferocious and precise, with drummer Joost constantly upping the tempo with build upon build, as songs spring into fierce extended outros. The playing of guitarist Dan Johnson crackles with energy, and as he comes into the crowd, the front rows jostle around his frets, whooping and egging him on.
MY BABY once again capture the very essence of live performance, and I was reminded how fist-pumpingly ace live music can be when played with such ferocity. However it is more than that – MY BABY shows are a wonderful blend of sweating hippies, beer chugging dads, and dazed students.
It speaks to their sound and their message of inclusivity that everyone in the gig, on a chilly Monday night, were absolutely up for anything.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – if you see just one gig all year – make it MY BABY.