DRINKS live review at The Lexington
Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley’s collaboration DRINKS played at The Lexington in London on 10 September to a sold-out crowd eager to see how the improvised sound of their recently released debut album, Hermits On Holiday, would transform to the live arena.
After a hectic few weeks leading up to the tour, in which Le Bon admitted that she and Presley had yet to work out which parts they would be playing live, there were no signs of things-still-being-ironed out as they emerged on stage and proceeded to play the kind of experimental-yet-polished psych rock that few if any contemporary musicians would have the ability of confidence to pull off.
While the album is engaging, the live show is compelling. As the show starts, the opening riff of Laying Down Rock immediately lifts the atmosphere, the crowd nodding along as Presly and Le Bon, standing side on, delve into their night’s work. Focus on the Street is delivered with gusto, whereas She Walks So Fast is given the space for the rhythm section to enjoy a playful, jazz inspired back-and-forth between Daniel Ward on drums and Sweet Babboo on bass – both of whom have played with Le Bon in the past – which captivates the audience. Le Bon and Presley sinking to their knees during these elongated break outs.
While the overall feel of the gig was experimental, it was by no means inaccessible. Not often will you see a band ignore the safety of four-to-the-floor, yet still hold the audience’s attention throughout – no mobile phones being swiped here as bored punters wait for ‘the one where you can jump about a bit’.
While a couple of hundred people were packed into The Lexington with its carpeted walls again re-enforcing the sixties LSD-wig out vibe of the night – also enhanced by the almost surrealist support act Stacking Chairs – it would be interesting to see how DRINKS’s set would go down in larger, less intimate venues.
With Presley’s band White Fence working on new material and Le Bon busy with her next album, it may be a long time before anyone finds out as the pair go their separate musical ways. Le Bon has indicated that there will be another DRINKS album out, and they will still be working on new material as long as it’s still fun. Let’s hope so, DRINKS live are a wonderful bridge-to-the-avant-garde addition to the usual indie circuit.
Live Review by Craig Scott and Photography by Rachel Lipsitz. Rachel has her own great site here: www.littletrousers.com
Interview with Cate Le Bon about DRINKS here: https://rockshot.co.uk/14515/interview-drinks-raising-a-glass-to-good-friends/