Hein Cooper, Leonie Kingdom, Emma Jayne @ The Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide 29/8/2019

South Australian Hall of Famer, The Grace Emily Hotel, played host to singer/ songwriter Hein Cooper on Thursday 29 August 2019. On the penultimate date of his national tour, Cooper successfully lured his largest crowd to date in the City of Churches selling out the iconic venue.

Local artist Emma Jayne opened the night with a seven-song set promoting her EP I Don’t Want To Talk. Songs including Pitch Perfect, Miss Me Now, Hometown, Run, Safer There and Not Coming Round gave us an insight into her personal story via a distinct amalgamate of indie-folk and pop sounds.

South East Queensland’s Leonie Kingdom took to the stage next with a compellingly emotive eight-song set. Kingdom’s unassuming stature left you unprepared for the sheer magnitude of the voice that emerged from it. With gut-wrenching emotion, songs including Don’t Overthink It, Sorry, I’m Not Angry Anymore, The Hunters, Rhubarb, Night Terrors and a cover of Britney Spears Toxic captivated the ever-swelling crowd. By the conclusion of the two opening sets, the crowd was sufficiently warmed up and eager for the main act to commence.

After a short wait, Hein Cooper, all six-plus feet of him, could be seen manoeuvring with a guitar in hand through the audience to the diminutive stage. A small rectangular cloth emblazoned with “Hein Cooper” pinned to the back curtain, two microphone stands and a loop recorder was all the accompaniment he required as he launched into Hijack from his recently release second album Underneath It All. Professing he was suffering from the man-flu Cooper, in jovial spirits regardless, requested the sold-out crowd’s assistance to sing. And they obliged many time overs in what was to become the unofficial theme of the night.

With his backing band a.k.a. the loop recorder or Brian on drums, Nadine on bass and Michael on backing guitar, Cooper traversed through songs from both The Art of Escape (2016) and Underneath It All (2019) over the course of an hour. Songs including Drive, Wolf, Over Again and Anywhere showcased his indie-pop roots and musical prowess that has seen him develop a dedicated following in countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the UK.

But it was the crowd favourites such as Hear My Voice, Fear of Missing Out, The Real, Rusty – in English and French no less – and Peculiar that generated cheerful, drunken and heartfelt sing-alongs and happy dancing. The sheer delight on Cooper’s face upon witnessing this was enhanced by his verbal appreciation. “I love every single one of you,” he gleefully professed toward the end of his set.

The final three songs of the set were indeed the highlight of the night. With fellow singer-songwriter and Cooper’s partner, Wolfe Black, joining him on stage, the two recreated their Like a Version rendition of Lily Allen’s The Fear much to the delight of the crowd who almost drowned them out with their own singing. The overtly joyous atmosphere continued with Like That.

When Cooper tried to walk off the stage at its conclusion, the crowd would not let him proclaiming, “one more!” The hauntingly stunning The Art of Escape capped off a sensational evening, but instead of bringing the mood down with its solemn sound, Cooper went with the flow and brought the vibe of the song up. A final group sing-along ensured everyone left on a high.

Despite feeling sub-par Hein Cooper turned on a stellar performance for his Adelaide fans. If he could perform so well when he was sick, I cannot wait to see him perform where is in top form.

Live Review By Anita Kertes