It was a tale of two halves for JP Cooper at Boiler Shop on Tuesday night.
The start of the evening was a visible struggle for the 33-year-old, who half-joked about being mistaken for expecting a rowdy crowd from Newcastle, to which a lone man bellowed something in unfathomable Geordie. Cooper thanked him for “holding it together” and let off another painful chuckle.
It was disheartening to watch as JP was poured his heart and soul into the second date of his biggest ever headline tour. His beaming smile as the infectious intro of ‘She’s On My Mind’ began and the ear-to-ear grin whilst letting the chords of ‘Change’ fly showcased just how organic the singer’s work is. The last notes of ‘Change’ dying out and silence once again falling resulted in a rude awakening for JP who notes, “you guys are awfully quiet”.
The lights dim and turn blue for the mesmerising ‘Beneath The Streetlights And The Moon’ which, again, produced silence but this time it was the spell-bound kind. It was from here on in that the Manchester-born artist’s engine started revving. He recognised the number of parents in the crowd with a joking shout-out to babysitters for allowing them to come before launching into ‘September Song’ which shifted the evening up countless gears.
Boiler Shop was finally in strong voice, dancing and with a buzz filling the air as the final croons of “you were my September Song” died out. Cooper’s other heavyweight track, ‘Perfect Strangers’, was preceded by the gorgeous SG-Lewis collaboration ‘Shivers’, which really deserved to be played in full. ‘Perfect Strangers’ got the whole crowd singing and moving to create an atmosphere that you wouldn’t have believed possible 20 minutes earlier.
JP was now in his groove and recounted a story of a bottling he witnessed at an open-mic night in Gateshead that had clearly just come to him, chucking to himself. A small story like that can make such a difference at a gig as Cooper shone as being so genuine.
Cooper spoke of Mental Health Day and suffering in silence to lead into the truly beautiful song which saw his vocals soar across the crowd in the chorus.
The highlight of the evening came in the penultimate track performed, ‘In The Silence’. Cooper spoke of Mental Health Day and suffering in silence to lead into the truly beautiful song which saw his vocals soar across the crowd in the chorus.
There is no doubting the talent of JP Cooper. His debut album is a gorgeous offering and his live vocals are faultless. It may have taken the Newcastle crowd a while to get going but you shouldn’t be lacklustre in checking this down-to-earth star out.