This week at Ibiza Rocks was a big one! Every year a classic crowd-pleasing band are booked at the venue, and this year it was the return of Madness who played there back in 2011, with support from Hollie Cook. Everybody likes Madness and I’m no exception, but I’d never seen them play live before, so I was excited at the prospect. Even more exciting for me was the recent announcement that Hollie Cook would be supporting them. At the end of each season, staff and regulars at Ibiza Rocks are invited to be photographed with a ‘wish board’ on which they write who they want to see play next year. In 2012 Hollie was on my wish board. It didn’t happen in 2013 but it did in 2014, so I was obviously pleased with the booking.
I first encountered Hollie playing keys and singing with the reformed Slits back in 2009 in London, and I was blown away by her amazing voice. Another great Slits gig later and a performance with The Rotten Hill Gang (supporting Big Audio Dynamite), and I was hooked, so when I saw that she’d gone solo, I bought her album and went to see her play at the Barfly in Camden. Since moving to Ibiza in 2012, I haven’t had the opportunity to see her play live since then.
Since I last saw her, she’s supported The Stone Roses at one of their Heaton Park gigs and played countless other gigs and festivals and also recorded and released her second album ‘Twice’. She’s definitely more confident onstage now as a result, and has a great rapport with the General Roots band that have been touring with her over the last few months.
She’s a bundle of talent, and it must be in her genes, being the daughter of The Sex Pistol’s drummer Paul Cook and one of Culture Club’s singers Jeni Cook. She learnt her trade on the road with The Slits and has bags of style and attitude and the sweet voice of an angel. She describes her music as ‘tropical pop’, and that’s what it is, with a vein of reggae running through it.
Opening up with ‘Ari Up’, her tribute to The Slits singer who passed away suddenly from cancer in 2010, she played a mix of songs from her two albums, including singles ‘Body Beat’, ‘Walking In The Sand’, ‘That Very Night’ and the latest single ‘Postman’, which coincidentally was released this week. She also played ‘Cry’ a personal favourite of mine, her song which also appeared on The Slit’s final album ‘Trapped Animal’ as ‘Cry Baby’ (see the link to a video of this at the end of the article).
I was disappointed however that many people didn’t arrive at the venue until later, missing most of her set! She deserved a bigger crowd to play to. But it was their loss – she was brilliant and her music was perfect for a hot, Ibizan August evening.
I missed the first few songs of Madness, as I was chatting to Hollie after her set. By now the venue was packed and it was hard to grab a space to see them. Half the island had come out to see them play: parents, teenagers, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. With 10 albums under their belt, Madness have a vast repertoire of material to draw on, and we were treated to many of their big hits, including ‘My Girl’, ‘House of Fun’ and crowd-pleaser ‘One Step Beyond’, plus some more unknown ska/reggae numbers over the course of the hour or so that they were onstage for.
A highlight for me was the guitarist doing a humorous rendition of The Beastie Boys ‘Fight for your right’, whilst the rest of the band went off for a brief break. The crowd understandably got what they wanted and danced and sang along. A noticeable absence on the stage however was Ibizan resident Chas Smash, and I for one missed his larger-than-life presence – the stage seemed a little empty without him.
They ended with ‘Madness’, followed by a solitary Suggs on the stage singing along to Monty Python’s ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ before he disappeared off up the stairs. And another classic gig at Ibiza Rocks came to a close.
Hollie Cook, ‘Cry’
Words & video by ClaireB
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