Review: Hein Cooper and Patrick James at The Basement, 4 March 2016

Originally posted on Music Insight:

Sydneysiders were treated to a special performance by singer-songwriters Hein Cooper and Patrick James on Friday night. The Basement, with it’s old world jazz club setup, provided the perfect venue for the intimate show.

Despite a slight delay with soundcheck, the crowd was in high spirits and were happy to chat amongst themselves. Cooper warmly greeted the audience before getting stuck into his opening number Polar Bears, written about his little brother.

“This is a really special day because someone in the room has released an album – and it’s me,” said Cooper afterwards, referring to his debut album The Art of Escape.

Using loop pedals and a synthesiser, Cooper delivered songs like Curse My LifeLuna Sky and Overflow with confidence and a musical approach all of his own. Strumming his way into our hearts with track All My Desires, the folk-rock musician hit the half way mark in style as he stated, “This is a song about all the shit I don’t have, that I want.”

Cooper even managed to squeeze in a cover he’s been working on. “Who’s seen the Twitter feud between Kanye West and Deadmau5?” asked Cooper – a perfect anecdote before kicking into his acoustic rendition of West’s Runaway.

Leaving us with title track The Art of Escape, Cooper graciously gave thanks to his partner in crime at the end of his set.

“Enjoy Patrick James – he’s a bloody legend!”

With that, Patrick James hit the stage accompanied by his band – all commanding presence and lushes locks. The ever upbeat and folksy track In New Light was our first taste of what we could expect from the Port Macquarie native the rest of the night.

“How you doing, Sydney? Thanks for coming out tonight,” said James.

Long time fans cheered when they heard the familiar sounds of track Bugs and were even given the chance to sing the lyrics back to an ecstatic James.

“I’ve recorded 20 different versions of this song, and this is the one I’ve loved the most,” he said.

James later demonstrated his musical prowess in Kings and Queens as he hopped on the piano to give us a smooth love ballad, captivating the audience as some stood eerily silent, taking it all in.

Makes Me StrongerAll About To Change and Message followed, but the highlight of his set was a cover of John Farnham’s Two Strong Hearts, and judging by the delight of the attendees it was theirs, too.

The crowd demanded an encore, which James generously gave with a cover of The Killers’Runaways – somewhat of a theme on the evening.

It’s rare when artists sound just as good, if not better than they do on their respective albums, but Cooper and James handled the task effortlessly.

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