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Jack Cooper | Stockton Riverside Festival / Trinity Gardens | 01/08/04

Cooper's Tent Applause

Gig review by Dawn / Photo (Nov 2004) by Dawn

"Stockton-on-Tees is a really difficult place to find," declares Jack Cooper midway through his set at the town's yearly Riverside Festival. "We got lost, but we made it eventually." And for that the small but appreciative audience gathered in the tent in Trinity Gardens are exceedingly grateful.

Acoustic guitar in hand, the slightly nervous-looking boy from Blackpool takes to the stage alongside friend and keyboardist Gareth and the pair open with the instantly compelling Will You Not? before the latter exits, leaving Jack to dazzle the crowd with the ease with which his fingers nimbly flash up and down the neck of his guitar during On the Run. Along with third track Jack Frost, it's reminiscent of a slightly more upbeat Tom McRae, and Cooper's catchy choruses and delicious vocals are equally as appealing as those on the Suffolk singer-songwriter's eponymous debut album.

And just when you think the songs can't possibly get any more irresistible, Gareth reappears at the keyboard for the duo to perform the utterly brilliant Devonshire Squares complete with its superb singalong chorus about somewhat inadequate record shops.

Equally charming are the two tracks Jack performs from his debut EP; Sleepsleepsleep is another gorgeous acoustic number while title track Turn the Light Off sees Jack take to a second keyboard beside Gareth for another spellbinding duet before the pair conclude with the gloriously melodic She Sells Sea Shells.

Clichéd as other reviews' constant references to his hometown's annual illuminations may be, they are also thoroughly justified; with such a lustrous collection of songs, Jack Cooper's future is certainly looking very bright indeed.

Many thanks to Jack and Paul. Visit www.myspace.com/BeepSeals for Jack's current musical incarnation.

 

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