A review for Outline Magazine has just been submitted so that should appear soon but I’ll add a few photos and comments here too about this lovely gig. For reasons I cannot quite recall I was unable to make the gig when she played a support slot here a couple of years back so I was delighted to get a chance to finally get to see Hollie Cook headlining in Norwich for the first time, at Epic Studios.
Support was perfectly chosen, being our own bright star, Maya Law. I saw her just a few days ago at NAC when she supported The Piratones (who feature her brother Dan) but however often I may see her she always impresses me. She sounded strong and assured, playing solo on this huge stage to a decent size crowd which in itself takes some guts. There’s a confidence about her delivery, the songs are strong and her voice is powerful. Maya’s a special talent and writes brutally frank and passionate songs from the heart, Amy-esque soul with a bit of hiphop reminiscent of Lauryn Hill, but Maya is very original and the real deal. Honesty and feeling present in all of her songs.
I think we all already loved her before the gig but everyone totally fell in love with her, daughter of the Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook, and five years a member of The Slits (The Slits!!!! ) but also, an absolute, self-made tropical dub-reggae-pop goddess. The indescribably wonderful, brilliant, charming and lovely Hollie Cook. Despite being just a few days back in the country and already on the second date of the UK leg of a tour on the back of a US visit she showed no weariness as she warmly delighted us with her beautiful energy and songs. The crowd absolutely adored her and I think she rather enjoyed the gig too, it was a lovely thing to be a part of. The songs are perfect catchy reggae-pop, putting me in mind of some old-school Trojan rocksteady and lovers rock collections from the seventies but given a contempory feel and her tight band – General Roots – gave some excellent dub backing which we all lapped up.
So glad to have finally seen Hollie Cook live, her albums are superb and I chose the latest, Vessel of Love, as my birthday present early this year, and it’s a record I keep coming back to again and again. I’ve had her songs in my head ever since this gig. She often crops up in conversations about music in the city and nobody has anything but good to say about her, some of the most unexpected people are fans and everyone I speak to loves Hollie Cook. All at this gig will instantly know why. Brilliant songs, uplifting energy and a beautiful person. Hollie has a lovely soul which shines bright, a vessel of love indeed. She kept summer going on a bit longer with her warmth and lit up the room even more brightly than those flamingo fairy lights which lit her mic stand. She seemed genuinely pleased to be playing for us and we were genuinely delighted to experience it all.
“Hollie Cook combines her unique vocal talent with charming charisma to craft her own dynamic strand of lovers rock with enduring tropical vibes, weaving a path from her West London roots to an arena of diverse collaborations, critically acclaimed records, and iconic live appearances around the world. Cook’s ability to continually surprise, delight, and progress solidifies her position as one of the most exciting voices in reggae, and this is crystal clear on her third full-length and Merge debut, Vessel of Love.
Cook’s music career commenced early when family friend and punk trailblazer Ari Up asked Cook, age 19 at the time, to join the raucous ’70s feminist UK post-punk outfit The Slits for their reformation in 2006. She thrived on being thrown into the deep end and quickly cut her teeth with four years of back-to-back shows around the globe. Her talents recognized and nurtured, she then released her first solo album Hollie Cook in 2011, with a revered 2012 dub album follow-up, while singles such as “Milk & Honey” and “That Very Night” gained support from influential radio stations across Europe. After performing at The Stone Roses concert at Manchester’s Heaton Park at the personal request of Ian Brown, and her hypnotic performance on the prestigious Later…With Jools Holland, the way was paved for Hollie’s solo career to take off.
For someone who claimed “it’s hard for a band to really stand out and shake up the world,” Cook was certainly making a good go of proving herself wrong. By the end of 2014, Jamie T had requested her support for his Alexandra Palace show and featured her on his track “They Told Me It Rained.” Cook had also unleashed Twice via Mr. Bongo Records, and with Mike “Prince Fatty” Pelanconi once again aiding in the album’s conception, Cook confidently delivered with her follow-up to a well-received debut. In the wake of another successful release, Hollie hit the road with both The Skints and Protoje, and lent her vocal talent to Quantic’s “Shuffle Them Shoes” single, which also featured on his 1000 Watts album.
Acclaimed legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover is Cook’s most recent collaborator, lending his venerable production expertise to Vessel of Love. His success with Killing Joke is only surpassed by his enduring reputation as one of the most prolific producers in the UK. “I’m very honored to work with Hollie, one of the most exciting emerging singers and writers over the last ten years,” says Glover. Hollie Cook sits in good company on his impressive production list, joining the likes of Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, The Verve, Primal Scream, Pink Floyd, and Depeche Mode. Glover describes Cook’s songs as “sharp lyrical observations and clever word play combined with an exquisite and informed pop sensibility,” and they are only elevated by Glover’s production on Vessel of Love, in particular the singles “Survive” and “Freefalling” as well as deeper cuts like “Ghostly Fading” and “Together.”
Hollie Cook’s vibrant, spirited take on lovers rock radiates positivity, and with Vessel of Love, expect to see her on top of the tropical throne of pop in 2018!”
Thanks to Hollie Cook, Maya Law, Outline Magazine, and Rick at Epic.