Serendipity had seen to it that I would see Coco Rosie for the first time ever in Aarhus as they do the rounds for their new LP Tales Of A Grass Widow. This was a godsend, however, as the Coco Rosie tour-machine was delivered nicely al-dente without the pomp and oft seen pretentiousness of some of their bigger shows.
I entered the Voxhall just to catch the end of beat-box boy (and dodgy vocoder enthusiast) Tez doing a solo set that had more than a hint of breakcore about it. The hip-hop spits and rumbles increased in tempo and fragmented into a barrage of splintered breaks and fierce bass.
As the spluttered beats faded to black Sierra appeared on stage from nowhere, breaking into her unique operatics and picking at her harp; an entrance admirable both for its subtlety and for its power. Ghostly in brilliant white Gothic dress she sung her little heart out. Tez and general multi-tasker Takuya Nakamura upped the Goth factor with faces painted white. Saggy underpants and clown costumes adorned a washing line crossing the stage while Sierra’s fully bleached-out face filled the back projection.
Bianca entered from stage left for the second number, dressed, like Nakamura on trumpet and knob-twiddling duties, as an innocent convict. From then on the evening’s trajectory was set for a gentle stroll through wonderland.
Bianca would occasionally sit in front of the mirror centre stage smearing her face with lipstick doing her duty for the global debate on sexual identity. Being the more edgy of the sisters I’m guessing she must have felt obliged to comment on the clash of civilisations with a swift costume change into a diamanté niqab and a t-shirt declaring that every day she is a Muslim.
Introducing new material to begin they hauled out some of the classics from previous LPs and ended unexpectedly with yet more splatter breaks and hard vocal kick drums from both Bianca and Tez giving the crowd a much deserved opportunity to throw some shapes.
Voxhall’s intimacy pretty much forced the troupe to strip their performance right down to the bone. Up close the sound was fuzzy and distorted. Take a step back, and hear and see, that even though the band had an air about them that suggested they were just doing their day job, nonetheless, the level of engagement with the audience was both heavy and light in the air. Credit where credits due, though, Coco Rosie at the moment are defined as much by the likes of Nakamura, Tez and sound engineer Nick Hannan. What we have here is not just a unique and beautiful pair of siblings but something that is more like a unique and beautiful machine.