CocoRosie, queens of the different, the strange and the outsider, live at the Brighton Dome was always going to be a good show. A band that divide critics and audiences alike, you can say what you want about the records but live they are still a wonderful thing to behold.
The Brighton Dome had the perfect vibe and location for their legions of loyal and equally strange but wonderful fans. Those not seated around the auditorium bristling with anticipation, stood in front of a washing line strewn with clothing while odd ambient tones mixed with samples of helicopter blades played.
A figure with his face hidden walked out to the synths and continued the sound. It intensified, changed, became a beat and gained a rhythm. Then Sierra Cassady bounced onto stage like a hyperactive toddler and all of Brighton fell in love. After a few verses of harp and opera courtesy of her powerful classically trained voice, sister Bianca and beat boxer Tez joined them on stage to massive applause. All clad in matching striped ponchos, the group shed them at different stages over the evening, the girls taking centre stage and trying on new outfits off the washing line, prancing around like naughty children trying on mums clothes. Behind them the two members of the backing band had their own raised platforms, all four flanked a dressing table with a large, ornate mirror that sat in the middle of the stage.
On record CocoRosie’s music veers all over the place, defying genre and categorisation. Live this effect is ten-fold, you never know what to expect next. One minute during Black Poppies you’re enjoying a kind of lo-fi opera performance before suddenly you’re taking part in a pumping acid house rave. Songs like Rainbowarriors and Far Away start off quietly then build and build into psychedelic dance freak outs, aided by the amazing beat boxing of Tez and the colourful, trippy imagery projected onto the screen behind the band.
In fact Tez came close to singlehandedly stealing the show, his deep voice and beats underlying songs as if it was an electric instrument or a drum machine. Half way through the show, he’d given his fifteen minutes in the spotlight to show off his skills solo, to a greatly appreciative audience. Winding his beats up and down, body popping and grabbing at his throat to illicit all number of strange sounds. When the band rejoined him on stage, Sierra amped up the adorable factor by cart wheeling back into the centre, dressed in a ballerinas tutu and hot pink bra. Her constant dancing played well with Bianca’s more introverted approach and the two joined regularly in the middle to sit in front of the mirror, apply makeup and marker pen to each other’s faces and sing while holding hands.Sierra at one point stared into the mirror brushing her hair and singing to a bird propped onto the side of the frame.
There was a real party atmosphere in the room with fan favourites Werewolf and R.I.P. Burn Face continuing the adventures into dance music. The crowd loved it and went especially crazy for CocoRosie’s infamous cover of Kevin Little’s Turn Me On. I saw them play this song three years ago and then it was too sincere and slow. Now, however, with the girls embracing their fun side it’s a highlight of the evening with a prowling Tez and pirouetting Sierra encouraging the crowd to bust out their best moves.
Brighton’s finest are out in force. Hordes of perfectly dressed lesbians in bowler hats, piercings and punk haircuts mingle with stylish hipsters, ageing supermodels and Europeans beauties with dark, deep, brown eyes. CocoRosie love their audience too, skipping back on for an encore with endless blown kisses into the crowd. They were persuaded to stay on for longer by just cheering alone for an improvised jam that starts with Bianca smashing her fists up and down the grand piano that sat to the left of stage. Before that though was the excellent K-Hole (with added trumpets) and new track After the Afterlife in a much funkier style to that of the album. While classics like By Your Side, Lemonade and Noah’s Ark were missing it made no difference to the near perfect show which continued to everyone’s delight in an after party in the front bar. Bianca strutted behind the desk dropping 90’s pop classics while Sierra watched from the balcony above still dancing like a maniac. The diehard fans drew round desperate for a hug or a kiss, of which the girls were very happy to oblige. Friday night in the heart of Brighton on a warm September evening; the perfect place for some CocoRosie.
By Josh Bennett