Words by Terresa Allen
Hein Cooper, a young Australian indie pop artist hailing from Ulladulla on the N.S.W south coast, has had the converted position of opening for James Morrison on the Australian leg of his ‘You’re Stronger Than You Know Tour‘, and he did just that last night from the stage of the Lakeside Room at the Gold Coast Home of the Arts (HOTA) with his trusty guitar and loop pedal.
Opening what was to be the last show of the Aussie Tour, Cooper warmed up the crowd producing a solid half hour set which included his 2016 hit Rusty and some new tunes Hijack and Hear my Voice from his recently released second album ‘Underneath it All’.
Leaving his imaginary band mates behind he then invited the lovely Wolfe Black on stage to accompany him in a crowd-pleasing version of Lily Allen’s The Fear before the talented duo finished of the short but poetic set with Like That a stand out single which can also be found on Cooper’s new album.
Last night HOTA played host to one of the UK’s finest singer songwriters with powerhouse James Morrison and his band lighting up the Lakeside Room on the last night of his Australian ‘You’re Stronger Than You Know Tour’.
Morrison‘s distinctive voice and emotional intensity complemented by tight musicianship and a pair of divinely gifted back-up singers provided the Sunday night Gold Coast crowd with a show packed full of soul, energy and style. Showcasing the offerings of his latest studio album ‘You’re Stronger Than You Know’, the night was filled with a series of emotive and deeply personal tracks, both well-crafted and superbly performed.
Honest, raw and skilfully constructed you would be hard pressed to find fault with any of the songs from the new album, sitting comfortably in the genre of contemporary soul, Morrison echoes respect for the giants of bygone eras and delivered that with a sound and class all his own from the Lakeside’s stage last night. Stand outs included Feels Like the First Time, Power (a positive tribute to enduring personal strength), I Still Need You, Cross the Line and the beautiful heartfelt duet My Love Goes On.
Nor did he disappoint by holding back on the tried and tested hits, dishing up a swag of crowd favourites, including I Won’t Let You Go, Broken Strings and the ever popular You Give Me Something. Planting himself firmly in the hearts of Gold Coast old school rockers, he warmed the souls and ears of many with his rendition of A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker’s version, of course.
Early in the night, Morrison joked that the crowd may somehow have mistaken the gig as one belonging to a certain Australian trumpet playing Jazz musician bearing the same name, but there was hardly a chance of that happening. Looking a little like Chris Martin, with the nuggety intensity of The Boss on stage, he and the band displayed a polished soulfulness, they were smooth, sultry and sexy as hell, ultimately setting fire to a slow burning HOTA crowd.
Returning at encore to deliver the sublime Slowly from the new album and closing out the night with a rousing rendition of Wonderful World, Morrison posed for selfie snappers and shook hands with punters along the stage. Cementing himself with the audience not only as the immensely talented showman he is, but as a warm, engaging and enthusiastic artist, who having felt the torch of personal sorrow has returned to his craft surer and stronger, and seems to be enjoying himself more than ever.