Clive Rozario

11:03 22nd October 2010

It’s astonishing that the elf-like Coco Sumner and her I Blame Coco troupe are still playing venues as claustrophobic as the Kings Cross Scala. Despite this band having had little to no radio airplay, it was of absolutely no surprise to learn that this gig had sold out well in advance. Their synthy, pop-rock may not have quite yet reached the masses (highlighted by one old tout shouting ‘who the hell is I Blame Coco?’ outside), but each kid in attendance knew every word to Coco’s unreleased debut album.

The fact that the release of I Blame Coco’s debut album ‘The Constant’ has been severely delayed remains a mystery, especially when you also consider that her initial third single ‘Quicker’ had it’s release cancelled at the last minute. On the surface of things, it doesn’t seem like any of this has anything to do with Coco, and one can only guess what the hell the label think they’re playing at. Not that anyone in attendance seems fussed by any of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans. The atmosphere in this dingy little club is electric, and when Coco and her band mates (what are their names again?) take to the stage its to a utter racket from her devoted fan base.

As the band plow through their minuscule arsenal of material, Coco stalks the stage with a commanding presence, in spite of being oddly awkward and angular. Sumner’s confidence as a performer has clearly matured throughout the year, but she has retained her reluctant interaction with the crowd and her glare of uneasiness. Not to mention retaining her fierce and never-ending frown. It all makes Coco exceptionally endearing. Comparisons to her father are going to be unavoidable at this early stage of her career, and in all actuality her deep, almost man-like voice sounds strikingly similar to Sting’s. With ska-edges affixed to I Blame Coco’s electro-pop-rock, its obvious that Sting has had a particular influence on his daughter.

The set tonight is ridiculously short, clocking in at just 35 minutes. The highlights are second single ‘Self Machine’ and scrapped single ‘Quicker,’ which both get the attendees moving frantically. But it’s the surprise appearance from Robyn – or as Coco announces, “the best pop-star in the world” – on their closing duet ‘Caesar’ that ensures this gig’s success. Robyn storms the stage to a deafening amount of noise, and though her aggressive confidence and feminine vocals contrast Coco’s constitution, the pair performs in perfect harmony. With the debut’s release imminent it is damn unlikely that we’ll get to see this lot in such an intimate setting again.

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