Live at The Key Club, Leeds 9th February 2018
You can tell Hollie Cook was in the reformed Slits by the dungarees and the Rosie The Riveter head wrap. Well, er, not exactly. The head wrap is red and glittery and sits above huge golden triangle earrings. She’s squeaky and excitable between songs, her huge smile all teeth, lips and cheekbones. And the music is not even slightly left-field, drawing heavily on lovers rock and being instantly accessible and fun.
She gives a lot of encouragement to the audience, not that this crowd need it, swaying and dancing enthusiastically. There are lots of songs from her three albums but I haven’t paid that much attention to them before (I will now…). I’m listening to the band, with excellent keyboards (a key part of reggae rhythm and great drums (well, with her Dad, she should have learnt something about drums). I am delighted to hear a cover of The Shangrila’s Remember (Walking In The Sand) – a classic of sixties girl-band melodrama. She’s reworked it and made it something else; not easy with an iconic song.
Hollie makes a great front-woman, setting the tone, the pace and inspiring the best from her band. There is all sorts, from lovers rock to roots, to dubbier styles and the crowd delights when the echo hits or the hi-hat taps and the bass re-doubles. There is lots of skanking in the packed venue and only a one Friday night fool embarrassing themselves; just a relaxed crowd enjoying themselves.
Whilst the first album failed to inspire me at first and I somehow missed hearing the next two, I had a feeling the live set would be good and it was. Naturally lively and flowing well, Hollie’s bouncy stage persona couldn’t fail but ignite the room.