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Monday, January 12, 2009

SoKo - Oxford Art Factory

SOKO
CUTHBERT & THE NIGHTWALKERS
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney 29/12/08


Cuthbert & The Nightwalkers offered more percussion than you could shake a stick at, including melodicas, tambourines, xylophone, cowbell, shakers, finger-clicks and a whistle. With cute female vocals backing the male lead, the Sydney seven-piece sounded like an even more twee version of Belle and Sebastian, if such a thing is possible. While so many bands are all about haircuts and posturing, this bunch of dags are a breath of fresh air; their catchy songs were played with exuberance and a smile, in a performance that was heart-warming and simply brilliant.

Trying to out-cute the support act would prove difficult for most artists, but SoKo, Stephanie Sokolinski to her parents, took the challenge in her stride. “Because of jetlag I will start with a little lullaby,” she said in a tiny French voice before playing a delicate solo number that made everyone in the crowd want to put her in their pocket and take her home. After pausing the set to “do something very important” (light a scented candle and place it on the keyboard), the diminutive French chanteuse was joined by her two-piece band as she cried her way through the heart-breaking, Happy Hippy Birthday. I’m Feeling Shitty Today followed, as she plucked at a ukulele.

It wasn’t all angsty stuff though, and while the slower numbers revealed a raw, Kimya Dawson-esque tenderness, there were plenty of upbeat and silly moments which came closer to Dawson’s previous band, The Moldy Peaches. The 21-year old wore a tiger on her head during I Wanna Look Like a Tiger. I Never Meant To Hurt You saw her bash seven shades out of the drum kit, during Baby Cat she invited the audience to join in for some meowing, while Sweet Peanut Butter was a protest song about convenience stores not stocking her favourite spread. Wet Dreams and radio-favourite, I’ll Kill Her, went down a storm too.

With no set-list to speak of (“We brainstorm after every song,”) it was a ramshackle affair and, after two hours, she eventually said goodbye with I Will Never Love You. While the set was insanely long for an artist who has yet to release an album, there was enough variation to keep it interesting as her style varied from delicate indie to punk/new-wave via country-folk. Ultimately though, it was the sheer charm and charisma of this sweet singer made the evening so utterly enchanting.

Review and pictures by Rob Townsend.

1 comment:

shellsuit said...

You went then... pleased you enjoyed it. Gimley and I could not believe how indie she was. I think most of the male audience fell in love instantly!