Tinashe / I Blame Coco - Camp, London
London's Camp venue is situated right next to Old Street tube station and the easy access is the best thing it has going for it as truth be told it's a bit of a trendy dive! I had ventured down to its grimey basement to watch a set from up and coming electro popper I Blame Coco and my first impressions weren't great as there were no lights at all in the guys loos, except for one in a cubicle, with patrons shouting "Leave the door open a bit mate so we can see what we're doing" to the poor chap inside who wanted a bit of privacy! The venue's stage lighting was also grim as it looked liked Coco had got her old man on the blower, asking if he'd get in touch with Roxanne so they could borrow a few of her tools of the trade as the stage was bathed in gloomy scarlet lighting.
The atmosphere in the room brightened up a lot when support act Tinashe appeared. I had missed the singer play a couple of weeks earlier when he performed on the same bill as Noisettes as I arrived at the venue too late so I was curious to see what he was up to as he had received rave reviews that night. I was very impressed by his laid back Afrobeat output, especially his closing song where he involved the enthusiastic audience in a bit of singing along so I'm sure I'll give his debut album Saved a spin when it appears next month.
I originally caught I Blame Coco live at Newcastle's Evolution Festival back in May, appreciating her set so much that on returning home to London the following day I dumped my stuff and headed straight out again to watch her at the intimate Flowerpot venue. Coco's 'Caesar' single featuring Robyn is one of the best tracks of the year and with a debut album coming soon I was looking forward to hearing the other songs up her sleeve again.
By the time Coco took took to the stage the venue was pretty full, with the expectant crowd going wild the second the first note was played. I had positioned myself front row with a decent view when shooting the support but Coco's microphone stand had been pushed quite a bit forward resulting in only "Up your nose" shots from where I was standing! I gave up after a couple of songs, squeezing myself over to the left hand side but it wasn't a huge amount better as I was competing with another photographer and Mr "You Tube" and could only sneak shots every time the guitarist moved out the way! That being said it didn't spoil my complete enjoyement of the set as Coco and her gang were on great form, with the lead singer as enigmatic as ever. I love Coco's onstage persona as she can come across really menacing at times but then breaks into a smile when she catches someone down the front singing along. Well, there was plenty of crowd singing on offer, especially when they filled in for the absent Pop Pixie towards the end of the set during a rip roaring version of 'Caesar'.
Coco's debut album The Constant hits the stores in October, with the majority of tracks on offer appeaing on her Camp set list. 'Turn Your Back On Love' and 'It's About To Get Worse' were highlights of the evening but my favourite song of the night was forthcoming single and set closer 'Quicker'. The song has a real groove to it and always reminds me of Swedish rockers The Sounds. The audience loved it anyway, going crazy then beating a path to the side of the stage to try to meet Coco as the set ended. With the album imminent I'm sure there will plenty more crowd members going Coco nuts pretty soon...