SHOW REVIEW: Quadron

Coco Maja Hastrup Karshøj is a pretty intense name, but if there’s anyone who lives up to a moniker like that to the fullest, it’s got to be the lead singer of Denmark’s Quadron. Listening to her honey-drenched vocals on the band’s 2009 self-titled debut is enough to make the hardest heart swoon; they are equal parts sensitive and intense and delivered with a dose of pure bliss. With producer Robin Hannibal, the band’s lush, loungey blend of electronica and neo-soul has garnered quite a following stateside, prompting the band to put the various side projects they both have on hold, relocate to Los Angeles, and focus on Quadron.

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the fabulous Coco

I truly had no idea how large and heartfelt following this band has until I attended a recent performance at Cameo Gallery. I was expecting the vibe to be a very chill version of 1950’s sock-hop, the room mostly empty as the gig was scheduled on a Monday. Boy, was a I wrong. The show was technically sold out, though my friend and I had no problem paying a paltry 10$ at the door and waltzing our way into the the little black box tucked behind Lovin’ Cup. The place was packed. Teletextile opened, but were playing their last song by then. We settled in behind one of the tallest guys I’ve ever seen – he must have been at least seven feet tall, and he was standing front and center. Now, I’m all for everyone enjoying the show, but this guy could have seen the show from New Jersey, and was currently blocking the onstage views for at least fifteen people standing in his vicinity. If you are a tall person who goes to shows regularly, please be aware of the fact that you aren’t see-through and there are tiny people standing on tiptoe for a glimpse of the action. This guy became aware of his wall-like obfuscation when someone behind him took matters into their own hands, got a stool from the bar, and brought it to the front of the crowd so this dude could sit down. With my view now unobscured I settled in to enjoy the show.

Coco is as adorable as her voice suggests, and she was dressed to kill in periwinkle cascades of ruffles and matching pointy bustier. The sheer joy that informs many of Quadron’s musical arrangements oozes from Coco as she sways, claps, and croons, her between-song banter far more shy than her singing-style, which can only be described as a full-on serenade. She introduced crowd favorite “Pressure” as a song she wrote about living in her sister’s shadow, and “L.F.T.” as an homage to the girlfriends she left behind in the process of relocating for her career. So while Quadron’s music is informed by the Motown smash-hits of 1950’s and 60’s girl groups, it is hardly a lovesick reiteration of the genre. Coco is young but fully possessed by her own powers as a jazz singer, and the year that Quadron spent honing their sound before releasing their debut record has helped them form a sound that is unique and well-rounded, never relying too heavily on any of the genres it so expertly blends.

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