Cocos Lovers at The Duke, Whitstable
The Duke of Cumberland, Whitstable
Jamie Dams and her new band were supporting — sounding great, but unfortunately I missed most of the set, having set of from Canterbury on my bike a bit later than I should have. The sound in the Duke isn't too bad, and John Evans was behind the desk, but the delicate "dark jazz folk" (as Jamie's describing it these days) got a bit lost in the soup of beer-fueled pub chatter. I think the series of intimate woodland gigs I've been involved in organising (a couple of which Jamie has played) have rather spoiled me now — I'm torn between listening and being annoyed with everyone who isn't. Oh well. Things are looking up for the as-yet-unnamed band, since the legendary sound engineer Phill Brown, recently having got very enthusiastic about recording our psychedelic Brightonian friends Jouis, is also interested in working with them. Not only did he work with Joni Mitchell, Jeff Beck, John Martyn, Bowie, Zeppelin, Floyd and numerous other legends back in the day, he was responsible for the sound of one of my very favourite records ever, Spirit of Eden, so with Jamie's material, this band and PB's studio expertise, we could be in for a real treat if this works out.
Cocos Lovers gigs always leave me feeling better than when I arrived, and this was no exception. It wasn't the tightest I've ever heard them, but they were still a joy to the ears, from the opening "Bow and Arrow" through to the double encore of "Song For Jack" and "Moonlit Sky" (a song they've been playing at just about every gig for years, but somehow managing to continually reinvent). "Under the Hawthorn Tree" was probably the highlight for me. Here's a rather lovely unplugged version which has recently surfaced online (I just noticed that the still image here looks like Natasha's doing some kind of brain surgery on Phil with her musical saw, while Nicola tries not to look!):