COCOROSIE WITH BRIAN LOPEZ
Sunday, Oct. 3
CocoRosie's music—a combination of multi-culti hippie-hop and psychedelic-folk chamber pop—draws from the no-holds-barred creativity of childhood, when the unknown is both a little scary and a little alluring.
It goes without saying that CocoRosie is an acquired taste and not for everyone. At the Rialto Theatre, the band performed an excellent 90-minute set, filled with more hits than misses, and they did so before an adoring crowd of obvious fans, many of them young women, some of whom seemed to sing along with almost every number.
Scheduling conflicts prevented me from hearing the set by opening act Brian Lopez, an increasingly strong draw in these parts; he's on the verge of releasing his third EP this year.
CocoRosie consists primarily of sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady, who were born and raised in the United States and who now live and work in Paris. Sierra is an opera-trained soprano who played harp, harmonium and electronics, and occasionally included effects that sounded like Auto-Tune over her pristine voice. In addition to playing wind instruments, children's toys and a table full of clattering percussion, Sierra sang in a raspy, childlike chirp that sounded as if it were born of a union between Björk and a garden gnome. But when she stepped up to rap, her flow was natural and surprisingly magnetic.
Joining their ranks were producer and keyboards whiz Gael Rakotondrabe, drummer Marc Lacaille and amazing human beatbox Tez, whose solo showcase in the middle of the set proved he can not only convincingly re-create the effects of scratching and 808 booms, but also imitate the sound of a didgeridoo and Tuvan throat singing.
The Casady sisters wore eccentric costumes, indulged in playful, idiosyncratic dancing and performed in front of a shifting backdrop of impressionistic projections, from carousels and breaking waves to distorted faces and shuddering flames. The show featured many cuts from their fourth and most sophisticated album Grey Oceans, including "Smokey Taboo," "Hopscotch," "Lemonade" and the haunting "R.I.P. Burn Face."
Guest vocalist Yasmine Hamdan—of the Lebanese trip-hop group Soapkills and the duo Y.A.S. (with French producer Mirwais)—emerged to sing a beautiful classical Arabic piece, accompanied by Rakotondrabe on the baby grand. That segued into "The Moon Asked the Crow," also from the new album. It was stunning.