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Let me preface this review by stating this: I love JP Cooper. I have been a fan of his music for a number of years. However, watching him perform live takes on a whole different level. He is the kind of good that makes you realise you’ve been watching him so intensely that you forgot to breathe.

From the moment he stepped on stage he had the entire audience in the palm of his hand. This venue was perfect for his sound, with his soulful voice reverberating through the hub of the building. When JP Cooper sings he sounds like a combination of Stevie Wonder and James Morrison, which makes it all the more surprising when he opens his mouth to speak and a gentle lilting Manchester accent comes out. His renditions of ‘September Song’, ‘She’s On My Mind’, and ‘Perfect Strangers’ were sung along with enthusiasm by the entire audience, their eyes glued on him. I think what makes him amazing live is just what he can do with a full live band, although he is an unassuming character he takes total authority at the forefront of the band setting.

He greeted us like we were his old friends, repeatedly thanking us for our continued support, and related his views on collaborating with other artists to his previous hatred of marmite saying that “It wasn’t a case of loving something or hating something, but understanding something.” He said that about Marmite. By the end of his last song, every single person in that venue felt like he had reached out personally to them, including myself. I will admit I was an emotional wreck when he sang ‘In The Silence’, and much of the audience was too.

This was the kind of gig that restores your love of live music.

I’ve been to many, many gigs in my day, and when I was much younger I would get this unbelievable excitement and joy just watching these artists do what they love to do. It was almost like a religious experience. I haven’t felt that way at a gig in a long time, but last night that feeling came back. This was the kind of gig that restores your love of live music.

Although he has been on the music scene for a number of years he only recently released his first album with Island records, or as I put it embarrassingly when I met him afterwards: “You’ve finally blessed us with an album!!” His success has increased tenfold over the past two years or so, yet I cannot overstate how humble he is; he individually thanks all his musicians, his management, the lighting crew, and the sound crew. Despite having collected some serious top-ten hits, the moment he hit that stage it felt as if we were all on the same level, and I can confirm the feeling is the same when he steps off the stage.

Dave Grohl may be the nice-guy of rock and roll, but JP Cooper is the nice-guy of music. He is certainly one to watch for the next hit in 2018, and I have no doubt that his audiences on his European tour will be just as enchanted.


Raised Under Grey Skies is out now, you can buy the album on Amazon here.

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