Cate Le Bon, Zsela and L’Rain Celebrate Mexican Summer 15-Year Anniversary

Cate Le Bon - All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE
Cate Le Bon celebrated the Mexican Summer anniversary - All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

Photos and Review by NOTES FROM VIVACE

LOS ANGELES – The independent record label Mexican Summer recently concluded their 15 year anniversary celebration, which they called Fifteen Further. The label held concerts from September through November in Mexico City, New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. Bands such as Devendra Banhart, Ice Age, and Sessa graced the stages for the celebration. Their roster includes Los Angeles based acts such as Allah Las, Jess Williamson, and Weyes Blood.

Mega Bog at Mexican Summer anniversary – All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

The final stop of the Fifteen Further celebration was held at the El Rey Theatre. The El Rey was filled with good vibes throughout the night. Mega Bog (aka Erin Birgy) opened the night with music that haunted. At times, her vocals would soar high and then she’d cut it off and drift into quiet tones before springing back to life. As her vocals rose, her body motions would follow and the crowd cheered it all.

Zsela among the performers at Mexican Summer - All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE
Zsela was among the performers at Mexican Summer – All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

Highlights from the set included her percussionist who played the wind chimes as if they were electric guitar strings in need of a punk setting. A saxophonist also joined for much of the set, which turned out to be an interesting theme for the night. One can not forget the brief moment where Birgy disappeared from stage and then returned, crawling towards her guitar like a desperate lover in need of forgiveness.

Zsela – All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

Zsela was a surprise guest for the night. She walked onto the stage in an elegant manner. She was dressed in all black and took to center stage with her guitarist and bassist flanking her. Her vocals were soft and mesmerizing. She comes from a creative family. Her father is funk musician Marc Anthony Thompson. Her mother is photographer Kate Sterlin. Her sister is Tessa Thompson of Creed fame. What was memorable about the set is how she dealt with troubles she had with one of her songs. She turned to her bassist and apologized.

L’Rain – All photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

L’Rain (aka Taja Cheek) asked the audience to stay present for the set. The music ranged from the discordant to ethereal to orchestral to jazz. It really did require the audience to stay attuned to the music.

The band closed out the set with “Heavy,” that has a wonderful confluence of instruments and vocals that blend together. To jolt the audience out of their music trance, Cheek called out at one point, “I said hello. That’s just not good enough.”

L’Rain at Mexican Summer anniversary – All Photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

And then she said about the line-up for the night, “I’m just as excited to be in the audience as on the stage.” And back to the saxophone theme, her synth player also took on saxophone duties on occasion. L’Rain happened to play a couple nights later at Zebulon.

Cate Le Bon - Photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE
Cate Le Bon – Photos by NOTES FROM VIVACE

Closing out the night was Cate Le Bon. She played the keyboard and had one band mate on stage with her. The band mate played . . . . of course, the saxophone. It was a night where the saxophone ruled the stage. The piano play and vocals glided up and down the scales.

Cate Le Bon was on hand to celebrate Mexican Summer anniversary – NOTES FROM VIVACE

The music had a chamber quality to it with a touch of Enya. An article from the Irish Times mentioned that she was in Wales when COVID swept the globe. It seems she ended up spending a summer in Wales instead of her home in Joshua Tree. She kept herself busy; however, as out of that time came the album “Pompeii.” She told the audience as the set ended, “Thank you so much for being a wonderful audience.”