Review: MY BABY at The 1865, Southampton

Review: MY BABY at The 1865, Southampton

by Alex Thurley-Ratcliff.

MY BABY at The 1865 last night (November 4) was the first ‘proper’ gig I’ve been to in three years. I actually tried to go to see them last year at the same venue but I was too ill, as I’ve been slowly recovering from long covid. So it felt like a personal pilgrimage to both break that unwelcome constraint and witness a band I’ve loved and followed for 6+ years.

I first heard MY BABY in 2016 on Spotify – with their second album Shamanaid, but to be honest every album has gems, including their latest album which came out earlier this year in April, Sake Sake Sake and has a darker, thoughtful approach with a more sophisticated dance sound. But they never lose their power-driven, psychedelic, funk/blues vibe – it’s fun, it’s intelligent, it’s gutsy and singer Cato’s lyricism and vocal range lifts it into a unique space. I became an instant fan – playing the first two albums over and over whenever I could.

Yes, their music is difficult to define, and seen live, their performance energy grabs you and takes you hostage. It truly can’t be categorised; their website gives it a go, describing them as “roots driven hypnotic dance… psychedelic blues-trance rave.” And while that genre-busting sentence might sound like marketing hype, that’s exactly what you get.

MY BABY are: Cato van Dijck (lead vocals, bass and violin), brother Joost van Dijck (drums) and Daniel da Freez (guitars) completing a beautifully balanced trio where each one plays the role of creative anchor in the melding of sound, words, performance and rhythm as they push the focus around the stage, build the energy and fill the room with sound.

Last night they opened with a powerful punk-reminiscent off-album invitation to look at the world we are destroying with “For F*ck Sake” before rising rapidly through tracks from the newest album – “A Dream I Dream”, “My Bad” – where the rhythm really grinds into your soul and gets you rising up – a repeated theme of their music – and “Stupid.” “Money Man” took us back to their first album, Loves voodoo! and the 90-minute set finished up with extended takes on their classics – “Out on Gin”, “Remedy” merging into “In the Club” and two of my personal favourites “Mad Mountain Thyme”, “Seeing Red”, “Uprising” and “Make a Hundred.”

This was the best of live music – the engineered studio sound is not what you get, and you don’t miss it for one minute. You get their energy, interaction, improvisation, playfulness and they took the opportunity to extend songs with other musical genres, great stage presence and a connection to the audience. It made for a near perfect gig – what a hot, sweaty dance club should be.

They bring intelligence to their lyrics, but you can ride the energy no matter what. And with musical influences from South Africa to the southern States, folk melodies and EDM, Cato’s voice just makes you happy to hear it, exciting wild swoops, calls and heartfelt cries, the longest note I’ve ever heard live, her vocal and musical brilliance is equalled by guitar playing Daniel and drummer Joost. Whatever “voodoo rock” is, I like it!

It was a thoroughly brilliant night. The 1865 is a great venue with an eclectic mix of music and events and it had a good vibe last night. Audience numbers don’t yet seem to be back at pre-covid levels, but for a band like MY BABY it didn’t matter because the energy the band and the audience brought together was more than enough.

Sadly, you only have two chances left to see them live in the UK. Tonight (Saturday 5 Nov at Phoenix, Exeter and Sunday 6 Nov at The Fleece, Bristol). I completely recommend you go if you can, although they’re still touring after that in Holland – not too far for a night out?! – and then in New Zealand until February 2023.

If you can’t see them live, then start by trying out “Mad Mountain Thyme”, “Seeing Red”, “Uprising and “Gasoline” or for a more overtly political song, “Master of War.”



You can find MY BABY on:


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