I don’t even know where to begin describing this gig. You know those gigs when the end is so insane you can’t even remember the first half as you walk out the door? Yeah, this was one of them. The ideal solution would be for me to resort to the old adage that a picture tells a thousand words, but in this case it’s a case of a thousand pictures not telling a whole lot. CocoRosie played their set with no strong lighting, preferring to allow their projected visuals provide a bit of illumination. It meant that I had a tough time getting snaps, but this band have always been ones for doing things their own uncompromising way. The Casady sisters emerge in odd outfits with their trademark facepaint moustaches. Bianca (Coco) is angelic-looking in a long, white cotton nightdress while Sierra (Rosie) has something similar on underneath a red dressing gown that appears to have the sittingroom curtains sewn inside it. The sisters and their band position themselves amidst the collection of instruments which range from keyboards, pianos, synths and a harp to children’s toys and a DIY portable drum-kit-wagon.
Things are reasonbly chilled early in the set as they work their way through tracks mostly culled from their new album Grey Oceans. Their unique mix of freak-folk, jazz, laid-back hip-hop and operatic vocals has the crowd wiggling and grooving. Lead single “Lemonade” is on the receiving end of quite a roar of delight when the opening piano line begins. Sierra is animated and dramatic in her movement around centre stage while Bianca is more reclusive over stage-left adding the crude sound effects of the electronic trinkets and her unique vocals. Her voice draws comparisons to Joanna Newsom for its range of almost croaky whines and elfin charm but at times tonight, such as “Undertaker”, the soulfulness of Lisa Hannigan and the peculiar diction of Ellie Goulding can be heard as she sings. During a short break, the bands’ beatboxer Tez treats the crowd to a virtuoso performance of a drum and bass style mix of vocal abnormalities. The response is deservedly rapturous. It is around this point that the gig – already well over an hour of excellent performances – really starts to take off. The band and the crowd get a little livlier, everyone seems to feel like they know each other better. The sisters’ nightdresses seem entirely appropriate as it really feels as if we’ve all been invited into their own private world, like a few hundred of us are gatecrashing a slumber party. The childlike “Hopscotch” brings out the innocence in the Casady sisters for all to see as their hand-clapping game ties up with Gael Rakotondrabe’s ragtime piano. The encore celebration of one of the group’s birthday, complete with chocolate cake and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Singing one of the oldest songs in the world inspires the band to move away from their newer material and delve all the way back to their debut La maison de mon rêve for the first time tonight with a reworked version of “By Your Side”. After nearly 2 hours, the set – now in full on party mode – comes to an end with Sierra displaying some interesting dance moves. For all their bizarre approaches to music-making and strange costumes, the success of the gig was down to their enthusiasm and the little glimpses of personable innocence that made things feel special.