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Ora Cogan @ The Lexington, London (Live Review)

  • Published in Live

 Ora Cogan

 @ The Lexington

 Words & Pics by Captain Stavros

It's Glasto weekend, and while rowdy ‘gotta be scene’ crowdsurfs small boat installations and lose their (perhaps by this part of the festival their actual) shit to the likes of risk takers Coldplay and Avril Lavigne, words cannot describe how fortunate we're feeling to be far, far away nestled in the lofty lofts of the Lexington.

Warming up the crowd, on an already boiling day, Lando Manning with Ora Cogan on deck. We awkwardly made eye contact with the former at the bar as we regaled the bartender about our missing belt. Where did it go? Who’ve they wrapped themselves around this time? Let us paint you a picture, or better yet, we’ll just leave it to the pros like Lando’s drummer do that on the brushes throughout the set. Let’s hope they stick to painting the skins instead of houses, if you know what we mean? When the lower spectrum thrums of the bass and guitar during Manning’s too-short set, rattled the snare so loudly, we knew the only reason we could hear them was because the audience was completely captivated; great support.

Speaking of support, yours truly, is proud to be supporting a group of most excellent Canadian natives in their jaunt across the pond. Had we known beforehand, we would’ve requested a bag of Miss Vickies Spicy Dill Pickle; if you know, you know. As a completely corrupt enterprise, we’re totally partial to bribery (TAKE NOTE!) but also totally unnecessary in this case [Editor’s note: This is not official Muso’s Guide policy]. Ora Cogan has been accumulating laurels, experiences, stories and skills alike since their first pressed music back in 2008. Cogan and her guitar, slung loosely mid-hip, stood before us battle scarred and well-worn deep beyond the lacquer; each lay exposed. The musician in front of their audience on display, as was their instrument, unvarnished, worn where each leaned on the other heaviest. It was a beautiful symbiosis, producing equally gorgeous melodies.

What really stood out for us was how synced up her troupe was. At no time during the set were eyes not flicking, like snake tongues, back and forth between members, with Cogan as their altar. At one point, Ora realises they’ve forgotten their capo backstage. After a frantic fruitless scavenger hunt onstage, Cogan takes off backstage abruptly without warning and the band, literally, doesn’t miss a beat, like when Jake and Elwood snuck off stage at the ballroom to pay the taxes for the orphanage (deep cut), real natural like. It gave us a chance to take in their bandmate’s talents, and for some, their appearances. Like a cross between William Friedkin’s Cruising cowboy meets Angus Young, the bassist made our tummy feel funny, sort of like an appendix that’s about to burst. The western motif was sewn and hung deep. The whole setup really gave us Holy Motor vibes (if you’re reading this HM, we miss you!!). The music overlapped genres, across the 15-track setlist, with smokey gothic tones and hazy folk twang. The cherry on the sundae was a cover of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ that completely came out of leftfield.

We’re bummed to say we caught her last gig of their tour but fear not, there’s no doubt of a return, and now you know you’ve got a huge back catalogue to rummage through and sing along with next time. Ora Cogan has paid their dues and this time they’ll be coming to collect, mark our words. Although touring is done, Formless, out on Prism Tongue Records, is Ora’s latest and is available now across a whole heap of platforms and tangibles. If you’re still reading this and taking suggestions, Cogan, did mention during their set that Italo Calivino is a must read and an inspiration during their writing process.



The Reds, Pinks and Purples @ The Lexington (Live Review)

  • Published in Live

The Reds, Pinks and Purples

@ The Lexington, London

Words & Pics by Captain Stavros

On night two, of two sold out back-to-back nights at The Lexington, and after the driest ever opening band, The Reds, Pinks and Purples, styling themselves after the colours at magic hour, were anything but abracadabra. With the bravado, body and charisma of a national bowling league champion, Glenn Donaldson played to an ageing dad rock audience shrouded in blue-black darkness. When called out on said darkness by the fans, we were kindly asked to keep it to ourselves. The 12-song set started off with ‘Record Shop’ ,where we were not at all subtly reminded in a sing-song manner to pick up the record at the merch booth after the set, way to trip at the starting line, bud.

Donaldson’s on-stage persona reminded us a lot of Cake’s John McCrea. Guess that shouldn’t be so surprising since both hail from similar regions on the planet. Their attitudes on stage, also similar and lyrical songwriting too. The feels come across sort of like, ‘I’ve made it now, so you have to put up with me’ but that’s where the similarities end. John has an old hat approach to his singing style, spoken, Sinatra-crooneresque. Donaldson, on the other hand, comes across as a mix of The Cure’s Robert Smith and Blues Traveler’s John Popper. I know, worlds apart, but this is our article, we were there and you likely weren’t. We’re dying on this hill. The music, too, differed. Unlike Cake’s constant evolution experimenting and stitching together different genres and instruments eludes The RPPs. They stick to what works and vary safely with tremolo surf styling, which were a hit with us. Overall though, we weren’t bowled over by the set, nor particularly repulsed, we just wish we’d have felt something, they had tried more, or a combination of the two.

We’re not here to trash the set, any more than a racoon can help being what it is; a trash panda. Both racoons and The RPPs have their place with us and are entertaining in equal parts, though mostly for different reasons. Few can refute that they are living their best lives, and mostly, people are here for it. Both shows at the Lexington were sold out, no doubt from longtime fans. The audience gave off Thatcher/Reagan era vibes but sold out nonetheless (Fuck you trickle-down economics Tory scum!). The atmosphere had the flavour of beans on toast, warm and comforting but not something you’d order out in front of someone (sort of like wearing a bathrobe in public). Although the music didn’t leave a bad taste in our collective mouths, the recent trend of loud-mouthed audience members did.

We will say that we were very impressed at Donaldson’s handling of the situation. Without skipping a beat Glenn sauntered over to stage right, singing into the offending member of the audience’s fat-face, giving them the attention they so desperately yearned for and so sorely lacked in their lives. It wasn’t until the lady next to us turned around and yelled “SHUT UP!!” at the top of her lungs that the offending party did so and slunk away with their tail between their legs. The highlight of the set, to be sure, as we didn’t stick around for the encore.

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