Last Night: CocoRosie At Fitzgerald's

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Photos by Jody Perry
September 28, 2010

A kaleidoscope of musical and visual colors filled up the second floor of Fitzgerald's Tuesday evening as Bianca and Sierra Cassady of CocoRosie performed a nearly two-hour set for an enthusiastic crowd. Still glowing from the new remodeling transformation, the upstairs stage served as a playground of sound for the sister duo and three additional musicians.

After a mild and calm set from the opening act, whose Feist-like vocals and midtempo beats mellowed out the crowd, projection of a brightly pigmented carrousel appeared. As the music started for "R.I.P. Burn Face," one of the highlights on CocoRosie's latest album Grey Oceans, the eclectic, artsy crowd erupted in approval and jumped both feet into the musical wonderland.

The tender vocals strains of Sierra, a classically trained opera singer, lovingly reached out to the crowd, as if they were the hands of a little child waving you onto the playground, pleading you to come out and play.

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Play they did, from the very first song until the last as nostalgic images of swings and fields flickered across the painted faces of the sisters. The musical texture of "R.I.P. Burned Face" stayed true to the ripples of sounds and effects of the album, said to be mostly improvised from multiple studio sessions. Bianca supported her sister onstage with a thin flute, echoing the folk-like melody.

A thin man wearing a ski cap and funky glasses served as the hype man/beat-box extraordinaire, supporting the hip-hop-like beats and clicks of a percussionist armed with a small trap set and various drums. Pianist/keyboardist Gael Rakontondrabe, a direct artistic participant on Grey Oceans, switched between a Korg keyboard of organ and synth sounds and a grand piano.

Grand piano? In Fitzgerald's? Yes folks, this place sure has been classed up lately. The shimmering C1 Yamaha served as the main musical force throughout the evening, offering washes of watercolor textures to the landscape. The sisters quickly swooped into "Undertaker" with bell-like twinkles and a haunting melody.

Sierra sang the reverb-drenched main vocal of a traditional Cherokee song that serves as the main thread throughout the song. A simple piano motif helped introduce Bianca's vocals, which seemed to be a cross between the soulful phrasing of a classic New Orleans jazz singer and the breathy phrasing of Bjork.

Eerie synth sounds lead us into Sierra's operatic introduction of the next song as flutes fluttered darkly underneath. While one might at first be caught off-guard by the heavy classical nature of her singing, it became very apparent that her vocal studies at the Conservatoire de Paris crafted a delicate yet powerful voice that perfectly matched the beauty of their musical style.

Heavy beats soon accompanied and the crowd bobbed up and down in approval as Bianca once again chimed in with her vocal swing, carrying out line after line of crafted poetry. Although you couldn't necessarily understand every phrase, when you did catch some of the words, you could tell that they pictorially depicted the worlds that Bianca created in her notebooks over the years.

Images of children and neon lights entered us into a track from their previous album, while an old-school Nintendo-sounding keyboard loop played. One may have started to question the authenticity of the music that resembles a lot of the kind that has been produced in Brooklyn's art scene over the years.

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