It was through a Tweet from Edwyn Collins's wonderfully waggish wife, Grace Maxwell (@gracemaxwell), that I first became aware of Hollie Cook's music*. (See, it's not all footballers flirting and movie title puns!) She posted a link to Hollie's bandcamp page and from the first listen I was smitten by the clarity and purity of her voice. It was, therefore, with a fair degree of excitement that I showed up at Glasgow's (new?) Afro Caribbean Centre last night for her show with Brighton's Prince Fatty. The show was everything I'd hoped for and more. Prince Fatty and co. stoked up a joyous house-party atmosphere with reggae-fied versions of Wu Tang Clan and Cypress Hill crowd-pleasers with the result that for much of the evening if you looked around you couldn't spot a single person who wasn't bobbing and grinning; ain't no parking on the dancefloor when Prince Fatty's on the mic! It was Hollie's voice, though, which stole the show. With an eruption of corkscrew curls, a sparkle in her eyes and her blouse tied up at the front, she looked for all the world like one of those sassy girls who always got the better of the teachers on Grange Hill in the early-80s. Her music, too, was informed by the past. I know next to nothing about reggae but I do know that Phyllis Dillon cut some of the best records I've ever heard and, from what I've read online, Hollie is a fan and it shows. Songs like "Shadow Kissing" and "Sugar Water (Look At My Face)" which sound sublime as streamed mp3s became all conquering when blasted through a mammoth sound system; serious bass pressure! Having only attended 2 reggae-type shows before (Rhythm & Sound feat. Tikiman at The Glass House and The Bug at The Art School), I don't have much to compare it with but I do know that last night was one of the enjoyable nights of the year and probably my life. Thanks for the tip Grace!
* - Hollie is the daughter of former Sex Pistol/frequent Edwyn Collins drummer, Paul Cook.