In the midst of a huge Australian tour and some serious love from Triple J, Patrick James and new pal Hein Cooper were stellar. If we could give out ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ awards here at The Wandering Lamb, these rascals would have a hard time fighting for the top rank. From humble beginnings to frequent radio time, our new favourite singer/songwriters left us with the warm fuzzies at Howler bar in Melbourne on Friday night.
Falls Festival was where Hein Cooper had his big debut, nerves through the roof but smooth as butter on stage. Post festival and pre-album release, the Canadian-Australian shone brightly for us at Howler with a set of electro-acoustic goodness. Having received well over 1,000,000 hits across Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube, it’s no wonder the crowd was at full capacity for this rising star.
His über popular single and title for his new album The Art of Escape, went down a treat with the crowd as did his toned down cover of Kanye West’s hit Runaway. Hein’s melodically balanced songs were dazzling, including Rusty and Dopamine, which also have been getting serious love on the radio. The boy from Milton was very comfortable on stage with his double microphone set up, loop pedal, Canadian made Seagull guitar and a tea cup of water, though he prefers Whiskey.
Another amazing cover was Lotus Flower by Radiohead. The younger audience members were unfamiliar but the older crowd were loving it. Hein represents something in Australia that we’ve been missing, someone who can fill the hearts of the old and new, effortless and flawless which is hard to come by. We’re looking forward to seeing him live again, hopefully very soon.
After a quick break and unveiling of the band’s instruments, Patrick James took the stage. Patrick James has had a busy time of late, tour all around Oz and supporting some of our best such as Boy & Bear and Vance Joy. Tonight he was a big hit with everyone, his earnest tunes and growing fan-base were a sure sign of a good night to come. A relaxed fellow, with his curly locks and boyish charm, he had the ability to swoon the onlookers with the ladies all wanting him and the gentlemen wanting to be him. Obviously well versed in the art of live performance, Patrick knew exactly how to woo the crowd, a little banter and a lot of guitar picking. His songs Bugs and Burn Away were favourites tonight with people swaying and singing along to the words.
An ethereal voice back-lit by blue and red, the visual and audio aspects were spot on and set the atmosphere the set. Crowd members also thought it was his best show yet with his immediate presence and playfulness all seeming so right and having the opportunity to chat with him after the show, he agreed.
The gig turned to Patrick sitting on an instrument case and playing his digital piano, he played his last few songs, Home No More, California Song and Covered in Rain. As the collective band left the stage, Patrick came back to play his anticipated encore. A girl called Jessica requested he play Bugs again (politely shouting from audience), he made the right move and played it. One last thank you and away he went, to the merchandise table with Hein Cooper by his side to sign CDs, offer hugs to everyone and accept the sparkling compliments from anyone who walked past, including bartenders and roadies. These two men from New South Wales are on our watch list, gentlemen of their craft, acoustic geniuses and all-round good blokes.
Photography by Georgia Grace