Fainting show stopper
It might be the first time that playing doom soul in public resulted in fainting. That was one of the episodes during the performance of Cold Specks at the Commonwealth Bar & Stage in Calgary on Wednesday. It was a show stopper, for a few moments, when a guy in front of the stage fell over loudly. He got up from the wooden floor and indicated he was alright. Cold Specks counted back in and off they went.
Another morbid song to dance to
It seemed to rumble the band though since the next number got pulled up mid-way. “You know when it’s a really old song and you don’t like playing it anymore?” offered Ladan Hussein to the audience. “Let’s stop playing that one.” Just what Cold Specks did and her support band, comprising bass/keyboards and electronic drum pads, moved on to a more recent rendering from her third, and latest, album Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts). Something more up-tempo, “another morbid a song you can dance to.”
Cold Specks’ doom-laden brand of soul has strong elements of gospel music and blues, no doubt influenced by the music of her father, also a musician, and some modern interpretations of traditional Somalian music. For me, it put my mind right back to listening to vinyl LPs in a dark house in Coventry, England in 1976. Specifically to Patti Smith, as she sang from her debut album, Horses.
Sombre and eerie; provocatively moving between loud passages to whispers mouthed distant from the microphone, Cold Specks’ act is subtly theatrical, using her silver-glittering, white shawl (I am guessing a traditional garbasaar from Somalia?) that she inadvertently left behind and had to pop backstage to collect. Ladan was not gone long (“It was less than sixty seconds!” came an encouraging response from the audience) and her shawl became a vital prop for her stage presence to hold and caress, twist and shape around her microphone.
Cold Specks’ set started and finished solo, with Ladan playing guitar. She seemed to enjoy playing her instrument “There’s no guitar on the new album. It’s nice going back to old habits”, she offered. She played what was to be her last song, then said “I’ll do another one. I’m feeling a bit greedy” The Commonwealth crowd were pleased about that second helping.
You can hear/see more about the new Cold Specks album Fool’s Paradise and her other music here.