They say honesty is the best policy, so I’ll go by that saying. I answered a last-minute call to action a couple hours before the show. I’d heard of JP Cooper but I couldn’t name a single song of his off the top of my head. Instantly, I started my research and listened to his work. ‘September Song’ and ‘Perfect Strangers’ were instantly recognisable to me and I expected a pop show with dance beats, not my area of expertise. It was also the first show I photographed so I was also unprepared for that part of the night.
As JP Cooper stepped on the stage of the O2 Ritz, I stepped into the photography pit with two other photographers who were very kind and gave me space to work. Our man, JP’s vocals were instantly hypnotising, I knew I was in for a good show. While doing my thing with my camera JP was cool, calm and a bit cheeky, looking straight into the lens of my camera as I snapped away.
Once I got back into the crowd as a spectator, Cooper, of course, sang his hits ‘September Song’, ‘She’s On My Mind’ and ‘Perfect Strangers’ which he introduced by saying that many people, myself included, expected him to be a dance/pop artist but he was clearly an acoustic pop type of guy. The crowd at The Ritz were treated to the first live performances of his new songs from his recently released debut album ‘Raised Under Grey Skies’. Always on key and with an envious vocal range, the songs were well received by the audience who sang back the words and clapped in time to the beat when prompted.
Between songs, JP would address the crowd and repeatedly expressed his gratitude for everyone there. He also explained that he’d been sick and unable to speak for a couple days before the show but was soldiering on. To be honest, he may as well have been in perfect health because his vocals did not show his sub-optimal state. The good vibes were practically palpable in the air thanks to the chemistry between JP, his band, and the crowd. The latter was composed of people of all ages, proving that good music clearly transcends generations.
After the show, Cooper stood behind the counter to meet his fans. I decided to stay with my friend to shake his hand and thank him for the show and the photos. His handshake was firm and his look was warm and friendly. As he autographed my photo pass he said: “Here’s to many more, you’ll go far.” An absolutely charming man, to say the least.
JP Cooper deserves the praise he gets and much more. The man is a sublime showman, a fantastic singer with an astounding vocal range. He’s humble, charismatic and genuine, qualities that seem rare in the modern music scene dominated by egomaniacs. This show definitely goes down in my books as one of the most pleasant concerts I’ve had the pleasure of attending.