Hollie Cook Phillips Backyard Weekender, Victoria BC, July 22
Published Jul 23, 2018Having moved up in the lineup due to the unexplained absence of Kelis, Hollie Cook found herself opening for the Revolution in her first-ever performance on Canadian soil.
Cook has previously referred to her style as tropical pop, but here it was announced as UK reggae, and that's what it sounded like, straight up. While her mom sang backup for Culture Club and her dad was the drummer for the Sex Pistols, Hollie was part of the final iteration of post-punk legends the Slits. Along with her admitted fandom of Marc Bolan, David Bowie and the Cure, that gives her a broad base of influences to draw from, but the style put forth on this stage was of the purest irie reggae one could imagine.
Backed up by a standard instrumental quartet, which was itself as polished as the finest gem at Tiffany's, the sound was unerringly chill, perfect for slowly swaying in the afternoon sun or taking a siesta in the shade. Their cover of Delaney and Bonnie's "Superstar" shook things up a bit, getting the guitarist and keyboardist in on its feminine vocal harmonies. It was up there with versions made famous by the Carpenters and Sonic Youth, or at least anything covered by the Easy Star All-Stars.
It was a commendable performance overall, bringing slightly different sonic and songwriting elements into each songs while sticking adamantly to a particular trope, and the Victoria crowd welcomed it enthusiastically. For the kind of people who go to reggae festivals every year, this is likely A-grade stuff, but it didn't really speak to me personally as captivating foreground music. It's entirely probable that I'm simply uncool.