By 8.35pm Cocos Lovers had set their instruments up in the middle of the room, the stage behind them undisturbed. I observed this process with a knot in my stomach, the remaining audience members in greater knots of expectation. I’d never heard, or even heard of them before. I speculated on the collection on the collection of percussive trinkets fastened to a weather beaten orange bass drum. I wondered at which point they would be brought into use and with what degree of force. The man behind the drum placed the banjo on his lap with fatherly care. My attention shifted to the violinist, lead guitarist, bass player, rhythm guitarist and flute player.
A smile fixed permanently on my face even before they began to play and didn’t leave until they’d finished their set. A semicircle of bosoms rose and fell. The girls to the right of me filled the room with a blush of pagan vibrancy. I felt the wrench of discovery even if it wasn’t my own. The grim reality of alcoholic abstinence subsided. So did the narcissism and brief gratifications of working London. I forgot myself and we forgot each other. The opening track, Time to Stand had the power to do this.
Cocos Lovers have supported Mumford and Sons, 6 Day Riot and Alessis Ark. I am familiar with none of these bands and only gave Mumford and Sons a quick listen after the show. What matters is they make you fall for an aesthetic attributable to them alone. This goes beyond trend, association, and the great grey seaside of the internet. I was lucky enough to catch this performance. In many respects, it was most random that I did. I spoke with them afterwards and they were modest. The audience and I were truly humbled.
The band are set to release their album Johannes, in March with a release party taking place at The Astor Theatre in Deal in Kent. They will be playing at Bearded Theory Festival, Small World Festival and Sunrise Festival throughout May and June. I myself plan to be squeezed up against a stage or standing among the trodden grass to repeat the experience of the 13 January at The Wilmington Arms.
Words by Phillip Cogger