Punters crowded the Fleece floor in anticipation of a rare UK headline show from My Baby last month, and they would not be disappointed. Formed in Amsterdam in 2012, My Baby is Dutch brother and sister duo Joost van Dijck on drums and Cato van Dijck on vocals, with New Zealand’s Daniel ‘Dafreez’ Johnston on guitar. My Baby’s unique and hypnotic sound fuses elements of blues, funk, soul and country to name a few.
My Baby’s unique and hypnotic sound fuses elements of blues, funk, soul and country
Before the main event, support act Jez Hellard and Nye Parsons provided some excellent folk that warmed the crowd up nicely. Hellard providing the vocals and guitar whilst Parsons accompanied him on cello. With Hellard’s preacher-esque vocal style reminiscent of Nick Cave, they ended on a hypnotic tango with Hellard playing harmonica.
The crowd were instantly hooked as My Baby began their set with an energetic rendition of Make a Hundred from 2017’s Prehistoric Rhythm – confirming suspicions that this was going to be one sweat-soaked gig.
confirming suspicions that this was going to be one sweat-soaked gig
Just one of the many treats of the night were Cato’s outfit changes, emerging first as some sort of ancient Greek moon goddess with a jewelled necklace on her forehead and gladiator sandals, before later changing into a black 1920s style bob wig and a back flapper dress.
The band have excellent chemistry with each other and it was heartwarming to see them smiling at each other and feeding off of one another’s energies. Joost singing ‘It’s a family affair’ to Cato – a tribute, we’re guessing, to the man who discovered them in 2012, the PR manager of Sly and the Family Stone’s Larry Graham.
Cato’s voice is pure and sweet, her lilting harmonies transporting punters to higher stratospheres of aural euphoria, while Joost’s technically on point drumming interlaces with Johnston’s expert banjo.
Cato’s voice is pure and sweet, her lilting harmonies transporting punters to higher stratospheres of aural euphoria
Next came Luminate and then Electrified; Cato belting out the song’s lyrics ‘I’ll break free for you’ seemed particularly apt for the band who’ve clearly broken free from any defined sound. Cato re-appeared, this time wearing a silver and gold sequinned catsuit, transporting us to the seventies with some Parliament Funkadelic-esque funk.
My Baby ended their set on an extended version of their hit Seeing Red from album Shamanoid. Beginning with their typical Louisiana deep south blues style, before transcending into funky blues madness, My Baby took us on a psychedelic journey through space and time; Johnston treating us to some excellent slide guitar.
My baby returned for the encore with Uprising and then Love Dance, we were transported to North Africa with its elements of Morroccan Gnawa.
transcending into funky blues madness, My Baby took us on a psychedelic journey through space and time
There’s no denying Cato is the real star of the show; talented and deeply magnetic, she makes the perfect front woman. Changing her instruments even more than her outfits, we saw her play three different guitars, an electric violin and a keyboard – and making it look as effortless as breathing.
The antithesis of a sit down gig, I would highly recommend catching My Baby next time they play, as you won’t be able to resist leaping around to their catchy blues riffs. My Baby’s eclectic sound clearly has a wide appeal, with the jiving audience made up of old and young. My Baby proved, for me, one of Bristol’s live music highlights of 2018.
Words by Charise Clarke