Hollie Cook at the Barfly
It takes appeal for a singer to holler the words “I don’t know what the next bloody song is!” and recover – appeal Hollie, like her hair, has much in abundance. She has an impressive musical pedigree: daughter of Paul Cook, the sex pistols drummer, and a godfather in Boy George – why, she even left high school to join the punk band The Slits.
At the Barfly, a mix of metropolitan comfortable and grunge, she produces ska and reggae in abundance, which had the crowd swaying for a good two hours. Not one to break from traditional styles, she could be criticised for being somewhat repetitive, however, in songs like Milk and Honey (a crowd favourite) she comes through with some wonderful and seductive refrains. She also receives a helping hand from the reggae stalwart Horseman, who raptures Rastafarian through most of the tunes, and intermittently banters with Hollie.
She describes her music as “tropical pop” and certainly there’s the essence of lazy summer days filtering through all the tracks. Although in places the beat picks up and the sax and trombone kick in for a more jazzy atmosphere, provoking roars of delight.
The highlight of Cook’s performances, though, are her vocals. She has excellent control, and she slips and slides between octaves with ghostly energy. The listener then snaps back to the Barfly when her West London accent pronounces of the next song, “play and I’ll figure out what it is”.
Enjoyable, certainly, if a bit giddy between songs (“I’m no good at this between songs chat”), Hollie Cook has been on a lot of people’s lists as “one to watch” for her style of laid-back but haunting reggae. A pleasure to see live.
Hollie was supported by the acoustic band Gecko and the dub DJ Rednek. Both, although a bit nervous, were great acts to witness in a bar famous for showcasing the talented and upcoming.
Listen to Hollie’s performance of Milk and Honey on Later with Jools Holland here: