This rescheduled show, due to the guitarist being taken ill, is now the last of the tour and Hollie and the band treated the night as a farewell-to-the-road party. The music was infectious with Cook pirouetting around the stage, dancing as hard and enjoying herself every bit as much as the audience.
She is now on album three and begins with its opener ‘Angel Fire’, the “strong and true” lyric reflecting her character. The bass dropped deep and low for the slow groove ‘Sugar Water’ in the vein of Dawn Penn’s ‘No, No, No’, which saw Cook dancing along and promising to take us to the beach for her take on The Shangri-La’s ‘Walking In The Sand’. The band were on double duties tonight having already played an exuberant General Roots soulful reggae support set that quickly warmed up the shivering crowd.
Things moved up a gear with a harder Hammond organ swirling over heavy bass, rim shots and guitar jolts with Cook’s upper-register voice floating over the top. The audience were treated as old mates with Cook totally at ease, dancing and joking before slowing the pace with new song ‘Lunar Addiction’, a spacey, dream theme. Delaney & Bonnie’s ‘Superstar’ was a perfect fit for her soft reggae pop style with her voice dropping to give a huskier tone.
She’s now in her 30s (just) but still retains a little girl precociousness and there’s an air of mischief about her as she sticks her tongue out at the keyboard player and jokes with the band. She’s also a strong person as shown on ‘Together’ with its “together we are powerful” refrain sung over old-school dub sounds. She’s sincere about her love for Brighton, where she has spent a lot of time and where a lot of her early tracks were created. She gives a toast to Brighton saying this is where is all began for her and ends with ‘Milk And Honey’, written about the city.
The previously mentioned poorly guitarist shuffled on before the encore to deliver a heartfelt, and far-too descriptive, apology for the earlier show’s cancellation. The band return, all joining in on backing vocals for ‘Postman’ which has a dancehall rhythm and sees Hollie playing upside down chords on the keyboard. The show ends with the announcement of a return to Brighton with a Concorde show in October.
Her version of ‘And The Beat Goes On’ was absent from the set but with that voice she’d be the perfect person to cover Janet Kay’s classic ‘Silly Games’. Maybe next time…
The Haunt, Thursday 1st March 2018