Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1982

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1982
KidCprogI don’t recall how I first became aware of Kid Creole and the Coconuts. I guess I heard one of the early hits like “I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby or Stool Pigeon on the radio, and I must have seen them on Top of the Pops. What I do remember is going along to see them in concert at Newcastle City Hall, not knowing what to expect, and being totally blown away by their show. And show was the right word for it. The music was difficult to categorise; blending a variety of styles and influences, including Latin American, South American, and Caribbean music alongside remnants of the big band era. And a crazy, super stylish and funny front man in the form of our hero August Darnell, aka Kid Creole, his foil, side-kick and the brunt of his jokes Coati Mundi, The Coconuts who were a glamorous trio of female backing vocalists, and a full band. The persona of Kid Creole was “inspired by … the Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s, the Kid fills out his colourful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing onstage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool.” ( kidtix82 Kid Creole was to be “the larger-than-life central figure in a multi-racial, multi-cultural musical carnival.” (Sire Records, 1992). If you think of the Mardi Gras combined with 40s zoot suits, rock n roll, theatre and great humour, you might start to imagine what these guys were like live. The NME reported at the time that their live shows “were among the most propulsive and enchanting of the period”. I went home with the Latin beats ringing in my ears, and a new hero in the form of the Kid! I saw this band twice more, and each time was an equally crazy and fun occasion. Although they seem to have been largely forgotten, back “in the day” there was no one touch them for out and out, over the top, theatrical rock n roll fun. Actually, maybe there was; Mari Wilson and the Wilsations come to mind; but that’s a story for another day’s blog.

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