Last Night: CocoRosie at the Granada Theater

CocoRosie, Sleep Whale
Granada Theater
September 29, 2010

Better than:
listening to recorded CocoRosie. Far better, actually.

cocorosie1.jpg
CocoRosie
The sisters Bianca and Sierra (CoCo and Rosie, respectively) Casady and their sidemen brought their unique brand of freaky fairy music to the Granada last night.

Playing to an enthusiastic crowd of around 600, some of which were extravagantly costumed, the six-piece touring band delivered a very satisfying performance. Sierra was center stage with a harp and harmonium and toys, and Bianca was stage right with a table full of various noisemakers--electronics, a penny whistle and a recorder.

You expect a CoCoRosie show to be a feast for the eyes and ears, and they did not disappoint. A backdrop of crazy images and nature scenes looped through the night, and, while the girls were not as heavily costumed as they are in their videos and album covers, they made for a striking presence.

The set started with "R.I.P. Burnface" from latest release Grey Oceans, and turned into a kinetic night of Sierra breaking into a spinning dance, and the overall tone of the music (all recreated on stage) being much more happy and alive than it seems on record.

The set drew heavily from Grey Oceans, but touched on highlights of their entire catalog, with favorites like "Werewolf" and "God Has A Voice She Speaks Through Me." Four songs into the set, a vocalist named Yasmine joined the band and added Arabic vocal stylings to "The Moon Asked The Crow." Regardless, though, the first half of the evening really belonged to operatic voice of Sierra.

Half-way through, however, the band left the stage along to a beatboxer named Tez, who did a short but extremely entertaining set.  The girls then came back in fresh little girl costumes and kicked off a high-spirited second half of the show with a clapping-game song "Hopscotch." Thus began a set that belonged a bit more to Bianca, and included the autotuned Bianca singing Kevin Lyttle's "Turn Me On," followed by the first-released single off Grey Oceans, "Lemonade."

The band was called back by an audience they owned for a two-song encore (again with Yasmine), and, finally, the evening came to a close about 90 minutes after it had started.

Opening for CoCoRosie was Sleep Whale (formerly Mom) of Denton, who delivered a more electronic sample set than I have seen from them in the past, but also with a fun visual backdrop of eight-bit graphics.

An odd musical highlights of the night was between sets, when a Backstreet Boys hit, "I Want It That Way" was played in chopped-and-screwed style. In a night of weird sounds and visuals, the image this one conjured may have been the weirdest. One tends not to imagine the Backstreet Boys sippin' on syrup.

Critics Notebook
Personal Bias:
I really appreciate it when bands are able to recreate their music live, and the sisters and their band did a great job of it. The big acoustic piano was a great and appropriate touch.

By The Way: I own more than one CocoRosie album, so I would say I'm a casual fan.  But I was unprepared for how energized and engaging their set was, compared to my expectation of dramatic eccentricity.

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